One Thing

Now a man came up to Jesus and asked, “Teacher, what good thing must I do to get eternal life?” “Why do you ask me about what is good?” Jesus replied. “There is only One who is good. If you want to enter life, obey the commandments.” “Which ones?” the man inquired. Jesus replied, “‘Do not murder, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother,’ and ‘love your neighbor as yourself.’” “All these I have kept,” the young man said. “What do I still lack?” Jesus answered, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” When the young man heard this, he went away sad, because he had great wealth.(Matthew 19:16-22)

You shall have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3)


This encounter between Jesus and the rich young ruler has far more to do about our desires than our dollars, contrary to what we might perhaps believe. Jesus points to what is on the throne of our lives and our willingness or unwillingness to relinquish our rights of it to the One who has all rights to it. Dollars, people, things, fame, acceptance, work, perfection, family, beauty, and whatever else is important to you are not intrinsically bad. It is the priority placed upon them which can make them wrong. Jesus calls us to be “one thing” people.
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:31-33)
Everything else is to fall under Him. He created us; He knows perfectly well what we need. We are all fully capable of deluding ourselves into thinking our desires are right and good allowing us to delve into what is basically idolatry. “The heart is deceitful” (Jeremiah 17:9) Scripture tells us. The rich young ruler in the passage of scripture for today is a good example. He was humble in approaching the Master. He was apparently earnest in seeking to do what was right. Yet he misses the covetousness of his own heart, and when faced with the realization of it and Jesus’ desire of his release from it, he becomes afflicted with sorrow. He just does not seem able to let go of his desires–no matter what he had expressed. Scripture give us several examples of “one thing” people who had their priorities right: God first and everything else under Him. David writes in Psalm 27:

One thing I ask of the LORD, this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the LORD and to seek him in his temple. (Psalm 27:4)

Of Mary it is written:

“We sin because our longings are so strong at the operational level–not at the verbal level, where we confess ‘Jesus is Lord’–we feel that something in addition to Jesus is necessary for our happiness and well-being. We will never find the full freedom promised in the gospel if all we want from Jesus is relief.” -James Wilhoit

As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)

Paul writes regarding himself in Philippians:

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. (Philippians 3:12-15)

Take It to Heart

“I know what it’s like to say you’re trying to help someone even though you’re well aware it was really a halfway-decent excuse to satisfy something in yourself. -Angie Smith


“The gift of Christ reveals the Father’s heart. It testifies that the thoughts of God toward us are ‘thoughts of peace and not of evil’ (Jeremiah 29:11). It declares that while God’s hatred of sin is as strong as death, His love for the sinner is stronger than death. Having undertaken our redemption, He will spare nothing, however dear, which is necessary to the completion of His work. No truth essential to our salvation is withheld, no miracle of mercy is neglected, no divine agency is left unemployed. Favor is heaped upon favor, gift upon gift.  The whole treasury of heaven is open to those He seeks to save. Having collected the riches of the universe, and laid open the resources of infinite power, He gives them all into the hands of Christ, and says, All these are for man. Use these gifts to convince him that there is no love greater than Mine in earth or heaven. His greatest happiness will be found in loving Me.” (Ellen G. White)

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