We often get bogged down, overwhelmed in fact by the long list of demands that are in our lives. Whether those lists revolve around work, family, society, religion, or even personal expectations and norms, it is clear, increasingly clear that we are a very busy people trying desperately to keep our lives from spilling over off of our very full plate.
Add to our already full schedule, the long list of duties and responsibilities that we think God requires of us. Prayer, Bible study, fasting, church attendance, evangelism, not to mention long lists of do’s and don’ts that we have a hard time keeping straight. Its not that these things aren’t good, in fact, most of them are and are absolutely necessary for spiritual growth and maturity. But when we look at them this way, as additional agenda items to cross off our list, we find ourselves in trouble because we are too busy trying to balance all the other to-do’s competing for our time.
Yet, God is much more simplistic than we realize. We place upon ourselves, and allow others to do so as well, duties and responsibilities that are important, but not priority. There is one thing, only one thing that is of absolute necessity: maintaining and growing a personal relationship with God. Everything else, and I mean everything else pales in comparison.
This particular scripture passage explains it well:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10.38-40, NIV).
I find the words of Jesus here wonderfully comforting – only one thing is needed. The church programs are nice, doing the laundry is good, making dinner is even better, but only one thing is needed, an ever abiding relationship with Christ that draws me closer to his feet and further away from the temptations of sin. At the end of the day, only one thing matters and at the end of our lives, it will be the only thing that stands.
So though the lists, the agendas, and all the other to-do’s are important, they are not priority. Hopefully, this will help me and help you, empty off our plates a little bit or at least stop stressing when we can’t get to everything on them.