In Luke 1o:38-42, while Martha is distracted, Jesus says there is only one thing or few things necessary. Mary has chosen it. She is sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to him. That is the one thing. Sit and listen. Stop all of the busyness and listen. Be still and know that he is God. Listen to him. Hear him. Enjoy time with God. That is the one thing. That is the priority.
Part of me rebels. Sit and listen? I don’t have time. I have too much to do. I can’t just sit and not accomplish anything. I am so addicted to doing and accomplishing that I am tempted to think sitting and listening is a waste of time. I need to be doing something!
Another part of me tries to turn this listening into accomplishing. I have to read so many verses. I have to accomplish my devotional plan. My focus moves from God to another accomplishment. There is nothing wrong with a plan unless it takes over the focus.
Yet another part of me cries out to sit at his feet and listen like Mary did. I want to know God like the Psalmist. I want to thirst for God and find my satisfaction in him (Psalm 63). I just want to sit and listen.
Jesus says Mary has chosen the good portion. That word – portion – brings us back to Israel entering the Promised Land. Each tribe was given a portion of the land as an inheritance. Each tribe, except Levi. God was Levi’s portion. The Psalmists take off on this idea, seeking God as their portion. The Lord is my chosen portion (Psalm 16:5). God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever (Psalm 73:26). The Lord is my portion (Psalm 119:57). You are my refuge, my portion in the land of the living (Psalm 142:5). I want Jesus to be my portion. I want to sit and listen.
Does this mean that we check out of daily life and just sit and listen. Emphatically no. It means that listening to Jesus is our first priority. Why? Because listening is foundational to the rest of our lives.
Jesus gives us the perfect pattern. He often went away to spend time with his Father. Then he would come back to serve. Listen, then serve. Spend time with God to gain wisdom and strength for the day, and then go forth into the day. Listening is a priority because it helps us live life well for the Lord.
And yet, listening is a priority not just because it helps me live my day better. Listening is a priority simply because of who I am listening to. I need to listen to God simply because he is God. He deserves my attention. Listening to Jesus is the one thing necessary, the priority, simply because God is the priority.
Father, help us to listen….