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Bob McPherson: One Thing

“One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life...” (Psalm 27:4). David wanted one thing, to live in the presence of God. That kind of singular focus is an abiding spiritual principle that shows up in the New Testament as well.

One thing is needed. Jesus was among the guests in Martha’s house, and her sister, Mary, had stopped helping Martha serve, to sit down and listen to Jesus teach. A frustrated Martha asked the Lord to tell Mary to help her. He replied, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary” (Luke 10:41-42). Martha was serving, doing a good thing. So, the mild rebuke was not a matter of propriety, but priority. She let her service distract her from Jesus. In this instance, Mary made the better choice. Physical service is good, but spiritual learning is better. Daily bible reading, attending bible studies, and worship assemblies are our opportunities to listen to Jesus. Are you anxious, troubled, distracted by many things? One thing is needed.

One thing is lacking. A rich ruler asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life. This young man was respectful, humble, and sincere. He had grown up knowing and keeping the Law. But Jesus knew his heart and replied, “One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven” (Luke 18:22). The young man knew the law, but he had missed the Law’s intended impact on the heart (Deut. 6; Mt. 5:21ff). He learned he loved his “one thing” more than God. What is your “one thing” you will not give up for God? One thing is lacking.

One thing is important. Paul encouraged the Philippians to imitate his spiritual focus, “one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead…” (Phil. 3:13). He reminds us that we cannot focus on the past. We can’t rest on our laurels, and we can’t dwell on our failures. Instead, we must reach forward to what lies ahead and press toward the ultimate goal of those called in Christ. The spiritually mature among us already think this way. The rest of us, bless our hearts, will learn that we should. Are you truly focused on the prize of eternal life with God? One thing is important.

One thing is needed. One thing is lacking. One thing is important. Priority. Focus. What’s your one thing?

 Bob McPherson lives in Warren County, but spends as much time as possible in Butler County.  He preaches for the Eastside Church of Christ in Bowling Green.  He can be reached at bdmcpherson2@gmail

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