Devotional Readings

Only One Thing Needful

But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her. Luke 10:42.

One day Jesus and His disciples came on the long trip up from Jericho to Bethany. Martha thought it would be a good idea to invite them over for dinner, because they’d all get a chance to know one another better. When Martha asked Jesus to get Mary to help in the kitchen, Martha was troubled. She was worried about making a good impression on Jesus. But Jesus replied, “There is only one thing needful . . .” This was His statement on the sum and substance, the beginning, the middle, and the end–everything concerning the Christian life. There’s only one thing that is necessary in the Christian life, but it’s also the one thing that many of us haven’t tried yet.

“I can’t sit at Jesus’ feet now. He’s not in town!” Oh, yes; yes, you can! Please remember that all the intangible phrases we use in describing the Christian life–“coming to Christ,” “sitting at Jesus’ feet,” “giving Him your heart or your will”–are made tangible by three things that we can do. How do we know one another better? By communicating and by doing things together. The same is true in getting to know God–communication with Him at the beginning of every day through Bible study and prayer. You study about the life of Jesus as given in the Bible, especially in the Gospels, and apply it to your own life, your own experiences, your own wants and needs, and then you talk with God about what you’ve learned. Then share with your friends what you’ve received from your personal encounter with God. Telling them what Jesus has done for you will make them desire to seek Him for themselves.

Someone asks, “Won’t we do anything else besides read the Bible and pray?” Of course we will! There are plenty of other things that are necessary–good works, obedience, high standards, doctrines of the church. But all these will grow out of this one needful thing, sitting at the feet of Jesus. It is the basis of the entire Christian experience. And many of us don’t realize it yet; we don’t think the Christian life can be that simple. But Mary had realized her need for that “good part,” as Jesus said, and it wouldn’t be taken away from her.


from Faith that Works
Morris Venden | Review & Herald (2000)
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