“And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
When Jesus came to Bethany, Martha was quick to open her home to the Savior. The Bible says that Martha began to busy herself with the tasks associated with being hospitable to their special Guest, while Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet and listening to His words. Martha became frustrated that Mary was not assisting her and complained to the Lord, saying, “Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me” (40). Jesus answered her with the words of our text. Martha was anxious and stressful in her desire to serve the Master. As valuable as this was, Jesus wanted her to know that the thing Mary was doing was actually the more important act.
Martha should certainly be commended for her desire to serve the Lord Jesus Christ. After all, what could be more important than serving the Savior? According to Jesus, Mary was the one who was occupied with the most important activity. Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, hearing His Word. This subject is one that needs to be understood and diligently applied by all. The activity for which we must consistently make room in our daily lives is taking the time to sit at Jesus’ feet and hear His Word. Although our duty to serve the Lord in ministry is important, our time spent alone with Jesus should take precedence over our service.
There are several very helpful and practical things about Mary’s devotion that we can benefit from. First, our devotional life is the “one thing” that “is needful.” The only way for us to maintain our consistent, daily time with God is to see it as our most important privilege and responsibility. We learn from the Scripture that our devotional life is something that must be “chosen.” We must make time for the things that are priorities. We must choose to spend time with the Lord. To choose this responsibility consistently means avoiding the distractions that compete with it. Then we are encouraged to see that the benefits of a meaningful devotional life cannot “be taken away.” God promises to bless the life that is disciplined and devoted to spending time with Jesus, the one thing that “is needful.”