One Thing

  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 thing is 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 thing that 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 thing and Jesus said it “…will not be taken away from her."

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.


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