“But one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” — Luke 10:42
We must learn the importance of the word of God. Not in the sense that we add God’s word to a list of important things in our life, but that we arrive at the revelation that our eternal destiny — heaven or hell — is laid before us within the pages of God’s holy word.
Jesus said, “He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him. The word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). The Bible is given to us in this life and will be opened at the judgment; therefore, let us give more-earnest heed to its content.
Five little verses in Luke 10 show us two sisters abiding in one house, living two totally different lives. One was commended by the Lord, and one was condemned. All humanity is represented in these five verses. My life is there, and your life is there. In pride, we like to think that we are just a little bit different than everyone else, but in God there are only two kinds of people: the lost and the saved. “The children of God and the children of the devil …” (1 John 3:10).
First, we see Martha. She invites Jesus into her house and works to prepare a meal for her special guest. Martha is hospitable and industrious; it is easy to like her. Then, we see her sister Mary sitting down, her mouth closed, listening to the teachings of Jesus. At first glance, with our faulty human understanding, Martha outshines Mary by a mile. But the word of God allows us to look into the heart of these two women.
Martha represents the majority of humanity. She was “cumbered about much serving.” That means she was troubled, loaded or weighted down with things that did not matter. She had a crazy value system. The house, meal, her appearance — all of this left her troubled, bitter and bossy, even to the point of giving the Lord instruction on how to handle her sister.
For this, Jesus gave her a stern but loving rebuke. The lady was messed up, lost in her own selfish little world, traveling quickly toward eternity full of good works, yet without the true righteousness that only comes by complete faith and surrender to the righteousness of God. The way she was living would cause her to lose everything, mainly her eternal soul in the end.
The Lord pointed out to her, “But one thing is needful, and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.”
In all of her good intentions and hard work, Martha wanted Jesus to be her guest, but this would not do. The moment things did not go her way, we saw her frustrated and bitter, far from the kingdom of God. Yet Mary, in honesty and humility, understanding her need of salvation, placed herself at the feet of Jesus, desiring to be his guest as he serves the only thing that can set a soul free from sin.
My friend, which one represents you? For years, I lived the life of Martha: my way, my ideas, myself. But now, by his grace and faith in his salvation, I place myself at his feet. Do you have the one thing that is needful?
Bradeen is the pastor of House of Prayer Christian Church and a member of the United Ministerial Alliance.