What is the “one thing” that you will do this year?
We are a busy people, no doubt. We’re able to accomplish more things in one day than our grandparents did in one month. Modern conveniences promise to save time when in reality they have increased activities. So to narrow our check list of duties down to “one thing” might prove to be challenging. Yet I’m convinced that if we don’t do the “one thing” then we will never effectively accomplish the other things. I suppose that we could argue over what should take precedence in our lives, but against the myriad of options that we could discuss, the Bible describes someone, two people actually, who found the one thing. David made a request of the Lord; one thing that he asked, actually, of the Lord. His request was to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life (Ps. 27:4). The word “dwell” doesn’t mean to make a casual visit with the Lord every now and then. It literally means to abide, remain, or to sit down with someone for a long, long time. Dwelling with the Lord describes a posture of intimacy. To know Him, to really know Him, we must cultivate a lifestyle that lives from His presence. God’s acquaintance is rarely established through pop calls; we must arrange our lives around His presence.
There were two things that David desired while seeking the presence of the Lord. First, he wanted to “behold” the beauty of the Lord. This word means more than merely looking at someone, it actually means to become “envisioned.” David wanted to see with new eyes; He wanted His eyes opened. Let me say it this way: we can’t see until we see! The moment that we look upon the Lord our eyes are truly opened. Our perspective changes when we look upon the Lord. Fear, anxiety, stress, and worry are not my focus. You will never have a proper perspective by watching CNN or Fox News; you’ll never see clearly if you’re watching your friends, the culture, or the latest media hype. Beholding the Lord is the only way to see everything else in its proper perspective. Little wonder, then, the writer of Hebrews said, “Fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith” (Heb. 12:2). Faith will never be established by looking at anything else other than Jesus. Second, David desired to meditate in the Lord’s presence. To “meditate” in this context means to inquire or investigate. He wanted direction for His life and he realized that it would only come from the presence of the Lord. Reflecting on the Lord’s presence is the only way we’ll discover our next move; direction comes from Him alone. His Spirit guides us into all truth (John 16:13). Outside of His presence we will be lost, confused, and disillusioned. Is your mind consumed with His presence these days?
In the New Testament Mary was at the feet of Jesus listening to every word He spoke (Luke 10:39). Martha, however, was not meditating on the Lord. We know that because she was worried and bothered about many things (Luke 10:41). Consequently she became a source of distraction to Mary, who was doing the “one thing” that was necessary according to Jesus, and Martha wanted to uproot Mary’s posture of intimacy. Distracted people will distract people; they will always be used to influence people from the presence of the Lord. Someone like this on your ministry team, prayer team, or leadership team will cause everyone involved to drift from the presence of Christ. Because they haven’t discovered the one thing in their life, namely living in the presence of Jesus, they lead others away from the Word of the Lord. Martha essentially saw her activity of greater importance than listening to Jesus, so she requested that Jesus stop dispensing words of life so Mary could help Martha with her ministry. If you haven’t found the one thing in your life you will be distracted by the “many things,” and most of them will lead you away from Jesus. No wonder there is so much burn-out and weariness in the Church. We will never really know the Word outside of His presence. We won’t see clearly; we won’t have direction, and we’ll find ourselves occupied with much worry and anxiety.
By calling us to the one thing this year, I’m not suggesting that we quit our jobs and shirk our daily responsibilities. People get the idea that dwelling in the presence of the Lord implies inactivity. I’m not taking away from those times in our lives where we retreat or spend a week in solitude with Jesus, but living in His presence is a posture of the heart. In the new covenant we become the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit (see 1 Cor. 6:19), so it’s possible to “sit at the feet” of Jesus while driving, cooking, or working in an assembly line. His presence dwells within us; we’re the walking house of the Lord that David requested to dwell in. We must learn to turn our affections toward Jesus every moment of each day. We must discover the joy and possibilities of living every moment out of intimacy with Christ. This is the one thing that will enable us to walk with purpose, power, and effectiveness; this is the one thing that will transform people around us with the fragrance of Jesus. Jesus is the one thing that will produce the many things; He is the essence of life that will generate abundant life.
There is only one thing that is necessary, Jesus, and I want to discover that this year. Please remove all distractions from my life. I ask only that I may learn to dwell in your presence moment by moment, and behold your beauty and mediate on your Word.