"One thing's needful; Lord this treasure Teach me highly to regard. All else, though it first give pleasure, Is a yoke that presses hard! Beneath it the heart is still fretting and striving, No true, lasting happiness ever deriving. This one thing is needful; all others are vain—I count all but loss that I Christ may obtain!
"Therefore You alone, my Savior, Shall be all in all to me; Search my heart and my behavior, Root out all hypocrisy. Through all my life's pilgrimage, guard and uphold me, In loving forgiveness, O Jesus, enfold me. This one thing is needful; all others are vain—I count all but loss that I Christ may obtain!"
Children like to make birthday or Christmas lists of things that they want and really, really need. Adults make lists too, helpful lists for grocery shopping or maybe the wistful plans of a "bucket list" of things that they hope to do one day. We make lists of things we need, things we want and things we just have to have. We may even seek "true, lasting happiness" in the items on our lists. Will those things bring us lasting happiness? All too often the earthly pleasures we seek become "a yoke that presses hard." The pleasures we think we must have, things like money, power, or popularity, leave us wanting more. Beneath it all "the heart is still fretting and striving."
The most important list is a very short one. Only one thing is needful, the only treasure that brings "true, lasting happiness." Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, knew that lasting happiness as she sat at Jesus' feet and listened to His teachings. Jesus, her Treasure, praised her choice: "One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her" (Luke 10:42). After presenting his own list of personal accomplishments, the apostle Paul announced that he regarded all of it as loss, as just so much rubbish, because he knew his Treasure: "But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord" (Philippians 3:7-8).
We need many things for life in this world—work, health, home, and food. God knows our needs and graciously provides for us. But no earthly goods will endure or bring us lasting happiness. Jesus alone is the one thing needful. He is our true Treasure because He first chose us to be His treasure. For us He sacrificed Himself on the cross to atone for our sins, including the sin of our search for earthly pleasures. For us Jesus rose in triumph over death and the grave. Bound to Him by faith, we learn that His yoke is light; it does not press hard like the yoke of earthly pleasure. In Jesus we have the present joy of forgiveness for our sins and the promise of future joy in His presence, a true, lasting happiness we will treasure forever.
WE PRAY: Jesus, my Treasure, in You alone I have joy that will endure, now and forever. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Carol Geisler. It is based on the hymn "One Thing's Needful," which is number 536 in the Lutheran Service Book.
1. When was the last time you received a gift you really wanted? You really needed?
2. Do you identify with either Mary or Martha in the story Jesus told from Luke 10? If so, why?
3. What gains did the apostle Paul possess that could be included in what he lost for Christ?
To Download Devotion MP3 to your computer, right click here and select "Save Link As" or "Save Target As" or "Download Linked File As"