One Thing Is Necessary

Reading: Luke 10:25-42


When you look at the week ahead, how busy do you expect to be? We make plans, we coordinate our calendars, we set goals and work to achieve them. Most of these choices are made in pursuit of good, even godly, efforts. But our Savior warns us that being busy can lead us to distraction, anxiety, and ungodly indifference.


Notice how busy the three passersby are in Jesus’s parable of the good Samaritan (vv. 30-37). Despite seeing the suffering man along the roadside, the priest and Levite had business to attend to in Jerusalem: conducting religious work, serving in the temple, and attending to the spiritual needs of the people. The Samaritan also had his own agenda for his journey (v. 33); but he stopped, putting his own plans on hold to serve and sacrifice for the sake of a stranger in need. Later, Jesus entered the home of Martha. The Scriptures tell us she was “distracted with much serving” (v. 40) while simultaneously becoming frustrated with her sister Mary who was listening to Jesus teach.  When she brought this up to the Lord, he spoke of her anxiety over many things before telling her, “one thing is necessary” (v. 42).


It is no sin to be busy. But as with all things, our hearts must go on the scale so we can determine why and how we use our time. Am I chasing busyness to avoid difficult thoughts or tasks? Do I keep busy in an effort to gain some sense of self-worth? If we are to be busy, we would like to be busy for good things, godly things. But Jesus is teaching us that we must give room for God to change our plans. Love is the necessary thing (v. 27): a love for God that puts His will first, and a love for others that acts when the opportunities open before us.