But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to Him and said, "Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her." Luke 10:40-42
You will note that Jesus didn't say Mary has chosen "one of many things, which are necessary," nor did He say she had chosen "one of a few things, which are necessary."
He didn't say that because there is only one thing, which is necessary.
Does that sound kind of narrow-minded?
I hope not, but if that's what you think, here is a story which supposedly comes from the sinking of the Titanic. The ship had hit the iceberg, and people had been instructed to go to their lifeboats. One of the wealthier passengers was just about to board when she stopped and asked for permission to return to her stateroom to pick up her valuables.
She was told the lifeboat would launch in 15 minutes.
With that countdown in her mind the woman raced across the slanted deck, ran through the gambling room, arrived at her stateroom, and reached for the one thing needful. No, she didn't try to collect her jewelry and gems, although they were incredibly, certainly, valuable. Forgetting the jewelry, she reached to the shelf above her bed and grabbed three small oranges. Less than a half hour before, those oranges were almost valueless, but now they were the one thing needful.
Looking at the possibility of spending some time on a lifeboat, the woman's priorities had changed.
I think the same thing might be said for anyone who takes a serious look at hell. The prospects of spending an eternity in such a place ought to reorder everyone's priorities. The appeal and allure of earthly wealth, fame, power, possessions and applause quickly fade, as they are pushed aside by what once might have seemed inconsequential.
So, what is the one thing which is needful?
God Himself answers that question. In John 3 it says: "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through Him" (John 3:16-17).
Did you get it? The ONE thing which is needful is having faith in Jesus as your Savior.
Period. End of reading.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, there are a great many voices crying out for my attention. Let me listen first, foremost, and always to You. Help me hold fast and share with others the one thing which is needful: the Savior who has won humankind's salvation. In His Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries