Ask my children, they will tell you that I can tend to get frustrated and freaked out. I’ve been known to throw a fit or two (or many, many more) when things don’t work out as I had envisioned. When I get like this, it’s a sure sign that I’ve relinquished something that’s important. Correction: not just something that’s important, something that’s absolutely essential. Correction: not just something that’s absolutely essential, the one thing that’s absolutely essential.
Perhaps you know where I’m headed with this so I’ll go ahead and go there. Open up your New Testament and land with me in Luke 10:38-42, the story of Martha and Mary. So, Jesus comes to their house and Martha does what any good hostess would do, she gets busy preparing a meal for her guests. So much is on the line for her – the satisfaction of her guests, the food which might go to waste if poorly prepared, not to mention her reputation as a hostess! Think of all of the potential negative outcomes which could result from this wonderful blessing of a visit from the Lord! She becomes a flurry of fingers and elbows as the sweat begins to bead on her brow. Then out of the corner of her eye she notices Mary sitting at the Lord’s feet. Her indignation heats up until it boils over onto Mary and Jesus, “Lord, my sister has put everything I’m trying to protect at risk. Don’t you care!”
His response is compassionate but firm, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”
I have a question to ask, “Would I get stressed out and frustrated if my greatest desire was for the One Thing?” Don’t we get stressed when we feel threatened? Yet who could threaten us if all of our joy were to be found in that which we could never be taken away?
If I were to live above stress, what sort of person would I be? What impression would I leave on those who observed my conduct in good times and bad? Paul tells the Philippians, “Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.” When I live above frustration, I announce to the world, “The Lord is near.” In order to do this credibly, however, I must draw near to him. I must acknowledge the One Thing. I must allow my self-consciousness and self-importance to melt away in the light of his presence – the One Thing.