One Thing

One Thing

“A woman named Martha welcomed Jesus into her home.
She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word.
But Martha was distracted…”


So here we are, fleshing out 2015. How’s the new year going for you? Looking much different from the last? All those resolutions, goals, and changes…so many things we still want to see accomplished in our lives…are you seeing any evidence of a difference yet? They say it takes twenty-one days to solidify a new habit. Well, today’s day twenty-four, and I’m not feeling it. Hardly.

No, to be honest, so far the new year is looking a lot like the old. And if you’d asked me a few weeks ago how I would feel about that I’d have said, “Freaked out”. But you know what? I’m not. And maybe that’s the biggest change I’ve seen thus far this year. It may not seem like a big deal, but believe me when I tell you…for me it’s huge.

So, what’s made the difference? Well, several weeks ago while reading the book of Luke, I was stopped in my tracks at the very familiar story of Mary and Martha. It’s a story that never particularly stood out to me personally, probably because I’m not the most domestic of females, as anyone who knows me well could attest. Without a doubt, I’m not the type to be compared with hospitable Martha. However, reading the account this time spoke to me like never before because I noticed something I’d previously overlooked. It’s something the most un-domestic of us might nevertheless be guilty of. What I’d failed to ever notice before was this: it wasn’t Martha’s tendency towards service and fussing over preparations that Jesus confronted. Not at all. What Jesus addressed wasn’t that Martha was too domestic, but that she was too distracted.

Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things…

No, it wasn’t Martha’s activity that concerned Jesus, it was her anxiety. Dear, domestic, hospitable Martha…it seems I share more in common with you than I realized.

Could we just as easily replace her name with ours? I now realize I certainly could. “Lisa, Lisa, you are worried and bothered about so many things…”

Maybe my things are different than Martha’s, and, no doubt, your things are different than mine. Nevertheless, like her, are we worried and bothered by them? Our families, our futures, our finances? Our weight, our work, our will? Our lack of ambition, our lousy attitude, our limited accomplishment? Everyone’s list is different, but if we take time to examine our hearts and acknowledge the things we’re anxious about, would it be so many things? It was for me.

So what’s the remedy? If you’re anything like me you make a list. You put everything in neat little boxes, you bullet point, you break it down. You resolve to solve…and there’s no better time than the beginning of a new year! You get busy, and the sooner the better because, after all, there are so many things. So we start the diet, curb the spending, create the goals, list the resolutions; we bite the tongue, book the travel, change the attitude, face the fears. But is that the answer Jesus supplied, the remedy He prescribed? Not by a long shot.

No, His answer was not to energize, but to eliminate…not to induce activity, but to reduce it. To reduce the so many things to just one.

“Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things, but only one thing is necessary…

Martha’s sister, Mary, had chosen that one thing.  “Mary…was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word“.

So, I’ve made a change for the new year…one single change. Change is such a common theme at the start of any new year, and truly there are changes I want to see. However, rather than fret and worry about so many things, I’ll be concentrating on one. This year I’m choosing what Mary chose, the one thing Jesus said was necessary. I’ve replaced the many things on my list of things to tackle this year with only the one. First and foremost I’ll be spending this year doing whatever it takes to stay “seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word”.  Jesus called it “the good part” which I would imagine could make for a very good year.


Taking part in Five Minute Friday at Heading Home (although this took much longer than five minutes….sorry, I’ve missed participating and wanted to jump back in).

Photo by Mo Riza provided under Creative Commons License 2.0


  1. Oh, you got me. Thanks for these words, and I so identify. I’ve been doing ‘quite well’ as I start this year, but it just started to tail off this week as I got overtired. And so I got anxious. Your post here has wonderfully redirected me – to single-minded pursuit of the Person with the answer to my anxiety. Just One Person. from #fmfparty

    • Hi, Ruth. I hear you loud and clear. Coming to Him with our weariness and finding a light burden is so refreshing, isn’t it? Thanks for dropping by.

  2. Wow. Poignant words here. I agree with Ruth! I’ve chosen my “one word” of the year to be “focus” – and have had in mind this same story. I love your exposition of the story here, the way you whittle it down to what’s essential (and convicting): “No, His answer was not to energize, but to eliminate…not to induce activity, but to reduce it. To reduce the so many things to just one.”
    Thank you! Visiting from #fmf

    • Focus, that’s exactly the idea. I love it! It’s going to be a good year. Thanks so much for visiting and taking the time to comment.

  3. How glad I am that you chose to write today. There is not one single thing more important than sitting at the feet of Jesus. Not one single way that we can be prepared for what He needs us to do, or a way to have the strength to do – save for sitting at His feet. My “word” for the year was less. Less stuff, less money, less doing. Leading to more – more time with my family – more time with God – more money where it needs to be. Funny how in 24 days that can get so messed up. Thanks for the reminder of what my goal is. Less worry, less busy. More God. Blessings to you.

    • Wow, Kelli…I love your One Word! What a great revelation too: less leading to more. That is so good. I pray we can keep it all whittled down, don’t you? I’m so glad you stopped by. Blessings to you.

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