December Note from Dri

Few Things Are Needed

It’s December and we are officially in Christmas season. There’s so much going on: Christmas parties, Christmas programs, presents to buy for that one relative who is notoriously hard to buy for, special meals to plan for, decorating the house. It’s enough to make the calmest of us anxious. But I want to give you permission to not. This is your permission not to do all the things. To say no. To simplify traditions. To let go of decorations that clutter your house. To “cheat” by giving gift cards (it’s not cheating, by the way). To say “not this year.” Sometimes less is more.

When Jesus stopped at the home of sisters Mary and Martha, Mary was distracted by all the preparations. I get it! Inviting 12+ men into your home for a meal, and possibly to stay overnight would require a bit of preparation. There is food to prep and beds to make up. Maybe she invited them because she wanted to show off her hosting skills. The focus is on the things and the stuff… But Jesus gently says:

Few things are needed—or indeed only one."

I do find myself wishing that he would have explicitly stated what that one thing was. From context clues we can infer that it’s simply to be with Jesus, sitting at his feet, like Mary was. To focus more on the guest of honor than on how well she’s hosting and if everything is just right. They still had to eat, so he’s not telling her not to prepare food. Rather, he’s shifting the focus. Simple food that allowed her to be with her guest instead of spending all her time in the kitchen. Less fuss over sleeping places so that she can be present. 

In the Middle School Sunday School this week, we just discussed what the first question of the Westminster Shorter Catechism: What is the chief end of man? The answer is: To glorify God and enjoy him forever. So I asked them, what it mean to enjoy God. When they weren’t quite sure I gave this analogy. There are, of course, people that we enjoy, people we like being with, people we want to spend time with, no matter what they’re doing. I remember when my husband and I were still dating, we wanted to spend time with each other no matter what we were doing. We could be studying, or doing chores, or going for a walk. We just wanted to enjoy being together. It’s the same with God. He wants us to enjoy being with him, like Mary. He wants us to join him wherever he is, whatever he’s doing. 

I think this is a great way to look at the “one thing” Jesus is taking about. We can use this criteria when we look at the many things we have to do. Does this glorify God? Does it help me enjoy him? Or is it distracting? Is it overwhelming and keeping me from Jesus? Or is it joining him where he is already working? Can I encourage you to find what helps you be with Jesus, and let the rest go?