“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 10:41-42)
When Jesus heard this, he said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor... Then come, follow me.” (Luke 18:32)
But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and reaching forward to what is ahead, I pursue as my goal the prize promised by God’s heavenly call in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13b-14 HCSB)
The phrase, "one thing," when used in reference to someone's life indicates that which is most important: the very core of a person's being, his/her central focus and reason to live. And the Bible is remarkably consistent in its description of what this one thing is: it is to live a life utterly given over to gazing upon God in His goodness. David said it most clearly in Psalm 27:4 (my life verse), but we also see the same theme in the other verses quoted above. Mary's "one thing" was sitting transfixed at the feet of Jesus looking and listening with single-minded focus. Jesus' description of the "one thing" to the wealthy young ruler was for the man to rid himself of anything that hindered his ability to spend his life focused on Jesus (you can only follow someone you keep your eye on!). And Paul's "one thing" is defined a few verses earlier in Philippians 3, where in verse 10 he describes his life focus: "I want to know Christ..."
The longer I live life with Jesus, the more convinced I am that life really can be this simple! If we can indeed make the primary focus of our life to "gaze upon the beauty of the LORD," getting to know Father more and more intimately, everything else falls into place.
Too simple you say? But have you tried it? Have you asked God to create such a hunger in you for Him that nothing else will satisfy? Have you asked Him to captivate you with His palpable Presence so that like Moses you cry out, "If Your Presence doesn't go with us, don't send us up from here"? (Exodus 33:15). Have you asked God to give you the kind of hunger for him that the sons of Korah (not David!) describe in Psalm 42: "As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, O God.My soul thirsts for God, for the living God."?
I could go on, but maybe you get my point. Most believers dismiss the simplicity of the "one thing" life because they have never experienced it, finding their lives distracted from the one thing by serving like Martha in Luke 10 or the pursuit of lesser things like the wealthy ruler. But I am not writing this to shame you or "convict" you. Rather I want to invite you to ask God to create such hunger in you for him that nothing else but a "God-transfixed, God-blinded, God-bathed life" will do!
If you ask with a sincere heart, you will find Papa more than willing to begin a drawing of your heart to His, creating the same hunger in you that burned in David, Moses, Jesus, Paul and others. If you set your will to pursue this "one thing" life, trusting in His grace to create what is lacking in you (He is, after all, the Creator), you will be amazed at what happens--admittedly not over night (we want everything instantly!) but over a period of time that He knows is best.
And when Papa does that, some amazing things will begin to happen in you. Faith will grow (Looking upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. Hebrews 12:2). Shame and fear will diminish (Psalm 34:5 Those who look to him are radiant; their faces are never covered with shame.). Transformation of your life will take place because you will begin more and more to look like the One you gaze upon (We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18 HCSB). And much more.
Those who read this blog know that I am not speaking here from theory. For almost 8 years now I have been on a "One Thing" journey, a journey that has had some very unexpected and painful turns in it as well as some seasons of great joy and overwhelming wonder. And I am more convinced than ever, through experience as well as Scripture, that "only one thing" is needed. And if you haven't found this to be true for you yet, Lord Jesus and I invite you to consider starting today. I cannot tell you how my heart longs for that for you, dear one, but God's heart to give it to every one of His children is infinitely greater.
Gazing upon His beauty...
Tom, one of His God-blinded little boys