Refocusing on the One Thing

Posted by Stephen Birkett on

“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” Luke 10: 38-42

Are you in the habit of making New Year resolutions? Personally, I’ve never been that way inclined – not because improvement was unnecessary, but more because it was optional, and/or through defeatism about the likely (lack of) long-term results. But somehow New Year 2019 felt a bit different.

Spending the holidays peacefully in Hong Kong, without rushing off stressfully somewhere else, was a big factor in that change. Too often, we are “worried and upset about many things” like Martha and don’t even realise that they are robbing us of the ability to reflect on the present, and envision a better future: even when I do get a break, I often just focus on recovery rather than growth or contemplation.

We know we are called to become better versions of ourselves, and we likely know at least some specific areas where we should be devoting less or more of our attention. But it’s optional: like Mary and Martha, we are given the choice of what we will prioritise. What will it take for us to step outside our habitual patterns and take a fresh look? If we don’t make a start today, we may be in the same place this time next year.

So for me a peaceful Christmas and New Year break served as a reminder to reorganise some wrong and complacent priorities, “making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil” (Eph. 5:16).

How about you? Are you “worried and upset about many things,” and which of them are really needed? In the end, only one “thing” is needed, and it will not be taken away from us. In what areas of your life do you need to “choose what is better” as 2019 is starting?

Let us choose a better future by:

  • Thanking God that Jesus came to offer it to us, and the offer is always open; and,
  • Asking God to show us where we are choosing other things instead of Him, and enable us to reverse those choices.


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