"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed.” Luke 10:41-42
In the late 1800s, two steamboats left Memphis at about the same time. Traveling together toward New Orleans, sailors from one ship made a few condescending, critical comments about the slow speed of the other vessel. It didn’t take long before a challenge was flung and a race begun. The competition was cutthroat as the two ships spewed smoke and sparks into the sky, steaming south. After a while, one boat began to lag behind. They had laid in enough coal for the trip, but hardly enough to carry on and complete a race.
It was then that a semi-smart sailor discovered the ship’s cargo burned as effectively as did the coal. With eagerness, the crew carried up crate after crate of cargo and chucked it into the fire. They wound up winning the race, but they finished without their cargo.
It is quite possible that you know more than a few people who, like the crew on the steamboat, are putting all their resources into winning an earthly race. It is also possible that you are one of them. Too many people, like Jesus’ friend, Martha, are worried about the wrong race. Too many have forgotten that there is, in this life, only one thing truly needful: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Too many people get joy out of knowing judges, jurists, statesmen, millionaires, billionaires, leaders of labor, and industry's influential; but, without Jesus, they do not know the one person who is needful.
Today the Holy Spirit wants us to believe in Jesus, who cared so much for humanity that neither spit nor the sting of a whip could stop His love. He wants all of us to believe in Jesus who cared so much that He did not seek revenge when a crown of thorns dug deep into His skull. He wants us to believe in Jesus who cared so much that He allowed His bloody, beaten, broken body to be lifted up upon the cross so that our sins might be forgiven, so we might live forever. He wants you to believe in that one person who is needful: the Savior Jesus Christ, who was faithful unto death so that all who believe on Him might have life eternal.
Excerpt from The Lutheran Hour sermon preached on August 1, 2004
THE PRAYER: Heavenly Father, steer me in the direction that is Your will for my life. Anchor me in the ways of Your kingdom. My God, You are the coal that gives me energy to endure. In Jesus' name. Amen