This article is about a focus on the priorities in a time where there are may concerns in the church.

Source: The Banner of Truth, 1989. 1 pages.

One Thing Needful

One thing is needed, one only. Mary sat at the Lord's feet (Luke 10:38-42). One question the Lord asked Peter: 'Do you love me?' (John 21:15-19). One criterion will be applied when we stand before him on that Day. It will not be whether we professed and proclaimed his Lordship but whether we did what he told us or not (Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 2:3-6). 'He who loves me listens to me and obeys me,' says the Lord (John 14:21-24).

Many great matters concern us in the Church in these days. Many among us have deep convictions about the policies we follow and grave doubts about those followed by others who profess Christ as Lord. But how rare it is, in debate, for Christ's glory to be the supreme and only concerns of both sides! How rarely do we see the Lord's own holy character clearly revealed in his servants! Christ's grace, meekness, strength and truth ought to be always visible in those who debate his cause.

Many things are urged by men as necessary in the work of the churches. But where among us is the heartbeat of the Apostle Paul who resolved not to be distracted from preaching the Cross and the glory of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Galatians 6:14)? Today many things are thought to be important, even crucial to our witness, such as techniques of city-wide evangelism. But it is the preaching of the Cross that saves. It is the proclamation of his Word that God has pledged himself to bless, whether shared in personal witness or preached publicly from the pulpit.

Do we then strive to maintain this perspective? Or have we in practice lost the conviction that the work of the Church is his, not ours? In our ministry and in our church life is it clear to us, as the Lord's people, that it is his Word, rather than our scholarship, methods, or programmes, that will accomplish what 'I (the Lord) desire, and achieve the purpose for which I sent it' (Isaiah 55:11)?

It is still a most relevant question, even in this modern age, to ask: Does our daily conduct and Christian service bear the hallmark of the Lord Jesus Christ's indwelling in us? If we have responsibility for leadership or preaching the Word of God, are those we serve distracted by us or do they see Jesus only as we come before them to lead them in public worship?

'One thing is needed!' Mary sat at Jesus' feet and listened. Peter reaffirmed his love and loyalty. John obeyed. Paul preached single-mindedly. Are these not all necessary and different aspects of the 'one thing needful'? Pressed with a thousand cares and duties on the way, Paul could still yearn 'that I might know Him ... One thing I do ... I press on to win the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus'! (Philippians 3:13, 14). To the Christian who chooses the one thing needed comes the Lord's assurance, 'it will not be taken away' (Luke 10:42).

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