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Mary and Martha

(Luke 10:38-42; John 12:1-8)

Lesson 7 -- first quarter 1997
January 12, 1997

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications

"I need." How accustomed we have become to this short little assertion! How carelessly we utter it. How smoothly it slips off our tongue to drop from our lips. And how well it exposes our shallow perception of reality. I need what? Reflect on your declarations of this nature. I need more time to work on my Web page. I need a digital indoor/outdoor thermometer. I need a 17- inch computer monitor. I need a garden. I need a four-bedroom house. I need a better bike. I need more money. I need people who understand my needs! What do you "need"?

"One thing is needful." Can you narrow it down quickly and accurately? Oh, I know we can utter the right words to give clear expression of the proper theology of need. I suspect we could all trot out the proof texts which conclusively establish the one thing that is really needful. Right now, though, I simply want to know, what is you life declaring to be that one needful thing?

In an earlier lesson we saw verse after verse that urged and commanded and compelled us to serve one another. Look around you again: so many good things to do, so many wonderful ways to bless and serve others! But don't get distracted. Huh? Yes, that's what I mean!

All about us are people whom we can and should serve. We must care about the genuine needs of others enough to move to meet them. We should be troubled enough by all the destitution and distress of others that we sacrifice so that we might ease those things. In these ways it is fitting and Christian that we be "careful and troubled about many things." But it is wrong if we allow this to deny us the good part, the needful thing.

So, don't get distracted. In all your serving and caring, don't get distracted. Don't get sidetracked from the Master! Jesus wants you first, then your service! Meet daily, meet frequently with the Master. Learn to know Him. Treasure His words. Seek His companionship and counsel.

Have you been so busy tearing around hither and thither, doing for the Lord without first being with the Lord? Then you suffer from spiritual MS. You have fallen victim to the Martha Syndrome. The Great Physician has the cure, but you must quit your busyness so He can treat your illness. Any time, anywhere, "The Doctor is in."

Now back to our key question: What "one thing is needful"? The Scriptures express the answer in a variety of ways. God graciously made sure that we could get the point. So let's listen up!

"Delight thyself also in the LORD" (Psalm 37:4).

"Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee" (Psalm 73:25).

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent" (John 17:3).

"And ye are complete in him" (Colossians 2:10).

"As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness" (Psalm 17:15).

"The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup" (Psalm 16:5).

"My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand" (John 10:27,28).

"When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Colossians 3:4).

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