The One Necessary Thing


This is your weekly pastoral blog post!

I’ve had a pretty good week (after 2 pretty hard weeks) so I am feeling fairly “light-hearted” today, which is nice.

Perhaps you are too? Or perhaps you’re having a rotten week? I hope it’s not the latter, but if it is, I am so sorry, and I really hope things turn the corner for you soon.

My Gospel reading this morning was one of my personal favourites – Luke 10:38-42:

While Jesus and his disciples were traveling, Jesus entered a village where a woman named Martha welcomed him as a guest. She had a sister named Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his message. By contrast, Martha was preoccupied with getting everything ready for their meal. So Martha came to him and said, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to prepare the table all by myself? Tell her to help me.” The Lord answered, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things. One thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the better part. It won’t be taken away from her.” (CEB).

I just love hearing this reminder that at the end of the day, the one necessary thing, the better part, is to sit the Lord’s feet and listen

And yet, I reckon that when we hear this we initially think, “Yes!” and then we suddenly think, “No!” because, it sounds so good in theory, but in practice it just seems so impossible. We’re so busy and there’s so much to do and if we just stop and sit at Jesus’ feet and listen, then things will get left undone, our lives will be undone, and the world itself will come undone! And so, we just land up feeling guilty and never getting around to it.

But perhaps, just perhaps, the opposite is actually true? Perhaps by sitting at Jesus’ feet, the world will be put back together, our lives will be healed, and we will be “busy” in much better, healthier ways.

I know this to be true from my own experience. Sometimes I (foolishly) think that it’s better not to stop what I’m doing and take time to pray. And then, I usually discover that I’m wrong – by making that choice, I quickly come to realise that I’ve failed to plug into the power that will actually enable me to do what I’m doing. And in the end, instead of getting more done, I actually get less done and feel no joy in doing it.

So, I’m constantly trying to remind myself of my positive experiences when I do the opposite: When I do stop to spend 20 minutes in silence at the feet of Jesus, listening (as you know, I use The Jesus Prayer to do this), I find the strength, wisdom, and joy that can be found nowhere else, and this allows me to go back to doing what I was doing, and to do it in a healthier way, with joy.

I hope this is an encouragement to you. I’d hate for you to hear me saying: “You wicked person! You need to spend more time with Jesus, or else!” Please rather hear me saying: “You poor thing. Life is so hard as it is. Please, stop and sit at Jesus’ feet and listen – you will refreshment and renewal there.

Blessings to you all!

Ps. Craig.