Jesus uses the phrase ‘One thing is needful’ in Luke 10:42, but He does not explicitly spell out what it is. In order for us to understand what Jesus meant, we ought to look at the context in which He expressed this. Jesus had come into the house of two sisters, Martha and Mary. Mary sat at the feet of Jesus and was listening to His word, while Martha was encumbered with the worries of serving Jesus to the point that she even questions Jesus as to whether the act of her sister, sitting at His feet, listening to Him, while Martha had to serve Jesus alone with no help was something that Jesus did not care about. Jesus replies to Martha that Martha’s mind has many worries, but one thing is needful and commends Mary for her choice. What can we learn from this passage?
The one thing that is needful is that we sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to Him, his word. This is more important than trying to serve him. Serving Jesus is secondary. Abiding in Him and His words abiding in us, as our act of worship staying at His feet, is the one thing that is needful that supersedes our act of serving. To be fed by the Lord than to try to feed (serve) Him is a choice that according to Jesus is the good one. Working without worship is not what the Lord expects. We need to worship first, work next. What is your choice today? Is it one that Jesus can say is commendable; one that He would deem good?
Luke 10:38-42 (KJV)
38 Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house.
39 And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus’ feet, and heard his word.
40 But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.
41 And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things:
42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.