What is Essential?


“I have so much to do that I shall spend the first three hours in prayer.”

Martin Luther

In a world where the government is telling folks and businesses what is and what is not essential, how refreshing is to see that Jesus addressed this issue a long time ago. In Luke 10:38-42 the Bible tells us,

Now as they were traveling along, He entered a village; and a woman named Martha welcomed Him into her home. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who was seated at the Lord’s feet, listening to His word. 40 But Martha was distracted with all her preparations; and she came up to Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to do all the serving alone? Then tell her to help me.” 41 But the Lord answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and bothered about so many things; 42 but only one thing is necessary, for Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (NASB 1995)

Jesus stated that Martha was distracted; this is the Greek word perispáō; meaning “To draw different ways at the same time; preoccupied with cares or business.”[1] This is not an endorsement on laziness, but to point out that Martha was all over the place and not doing the most important thing, as Mary did.

When we don’t get our priorities straight, not only that we will not produce good results, but our attitude will not be good either. Martha was distracted, her head was spinning, and, at the same time, she was angry at Mary. Martha was not experiencing joy and peace; a good sign that something was not right. 

Mary was seating at Jesus’ feet listening to His word. This story encourages us to make time to worship Jesus, to pray and to study His Word. That is ESSENTIAL! Jesus stated, “…Mary has chosen the good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” Everything else, compare to spending time with Jesus, does not really matter. At the end of the day, folks sacrifice time with God and, in the process, as time goes by, realize that they missed the most important thing. 

The truth is that when we get our priorities straight, that is 1) God, 2) family, 3) fellowship with other believers and, 4) our jobs and ministry, everything else falls into place. We are able to enjoy peace and joy and, be more productive and more loving towards others. 

In 2021, there is no resolution more important than to reconnect with our Lord in worship, prayer and the study of His Word. Neglecting this mandate will leave us depressed, anxious, angry and frustrated. 


[1] Spiros Zodhiates, The Complete Word Study Dictionary: New Testament (Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers, 2000).

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