In 1991 the movie, City Slickers,
premiered. Three city boys decided to spend their vacation driving cattle on an
authentic cattle drive. The experience, they surmised, would end their mid-life
crisis and in the process they’d become genuine cowboys. Their vacation
commenced at a dude ranch in the southwest where they learned and prepared for
the drive. It was here they met rugged, mean-looking, and very seasoned trail
boss, Curly. The drive begins normally, yet as in all comedies and good
stories, chaos quickly follows. Along the way, the main character, Mitch,
played by Billy Crystal, learns from Curly, played by Jack Palance, the secret
to life is one
thing. When Mitch asks, “What’s the one thing?” Curly says, “That’s
what you’ve got to figure out.” Mitch goes wild trying to discover what Curly
means by one thing. In the end, Mitch seems to learn his one thing. Satisfied,
he returns home to live the proverbial happily ever after.
According to the City Slickers movie
review, this one
thingis something we all must
discover for ourselves and it is different for everyone.
So, what’s your one thing? Is it family,
friends, relationships, work, lifestyle, location, a purpose in life, or
something not listed? And, do you agree it’s different for everyone?
Back then, as a fairly new Christian, I did agree.
But now, after many years walking with our Lord and Savior, I see differently.
In Luke, chapter 10, we read of a day Jesus
visited three siblings, Martha, Mary, and Lazarus. Most likely, Martha was the
eldest of the three, since she welcomed Jesus into her house. Martha is
gracious, generous, organized, reliable, and under control. She is responsible
for the smooth running of the home, serving her brother and any guests who come
to call, usually with Mary’s help.
Mary must be younger as she doesn’t seem to
possess the firstborn, older child, I need to take charge characteristics. Mary
appears passionate, emotional, and a bit more carefree. No doubt, this
combination of personalities caused frustration. So, peacemaker Lazarus,
perhaps doused many emotional fires.
On the day Jesus visited, things were no
different. Martha knew exactly how she wanted the day’s activities to go and
expected Mary to comply. But Jesus was there. His words compelled Mary to
listen. She sat at His feet as if glued to Him. Truth flowed from His lips.
Love emanated from His being. And, nothing else mattered.
Even if you didn’t know the story from
Scripture, you could have easily predicted what would happen next. Martha loved
Jesus too. He was a friend and teacher, but there was work to do. So, Martha
sought Jesus’ help with Mary’s lack of responsibility.
Please understand, it’s not that Jesus felt
serving was unimportant. Of course serving is important – we can’t live without
food. But, Jesus saw Martha’s heart. Her priorities were skewed. Jesus knew
frustration with Mary and other distractions kept her bound and serving for all
the wrong reasons. Martha, the perfect hostess, had the Son of God sitting in
her living room and her focus was the kitchen.
Martha hadn’t yet understood the one thingthat really mattered - the only thing that matters
for every human being: Jesus Christ.
When He, The
True One Thing, is found, all else falls into place.
Later Martha would see Jesus crucified
for her sin, buried, and risen from the dead. Then she would
fully understand He is the Resurrection and the Life, the Truth, and the only
Way to the Father. But for now, Martha needed to let go of the many things
concerning her and comprehend “…one thing is needed…” Mary found her one thingand Jesus said it “…will not be taken away from
So, this Resurrection Day, as the world
searches, without satisfaction, for their one thing, please
remember yours. He is The One and Only Thing needed.