If you’re like me, a lot of your days are spent stressed, overloaded and full of worry. According to a New York Times poll in 2019 of 1,000 adults, 55% said they experienced stress “a lot of the day.” I can only imagine that has increased with the way 2020 has been.
I began to think about this and pondered, “as Christians, should stress be a common factor in our lives?”
Truly, even as believers, we worry about much. Worry over wayward loved ones, worry over sickness of others or maybe even ourselves. We stress about bills and how they will get paid. How will we get the car repaired and how will we get to work? I could continue down the laundry list of trials and issues that we are faced with, but is the worry needful? As always, let’s look at this with Biblical principles in view.
Jesus was passing through Bethany when He stopped to visit with Mary, her sister Martha, and their brother Lazarus. Jesus was their guest and as it was a custom to serve and prepare a meal, so Martha did. She had no sooner worked herself up into a tizzy when suddenly she realized her sister Mary had not been helping her as she usually did. When she looked for her sister, she found her sitting at the feet of Jesus, a place reserved for His disciples.
It was not suitable for a host to be served by the guest, but nonetheless, Jesus came to serve and not to be served. So, even though Jesus was the guest, He was serving the host with His words.
Martha, visibly upset, came over to Jesus and said,” Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.”
But Jesus responded, “Martha, Martha, thou art careful (anxious) and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:40-42).
Martha was stressed, overworked and upset. Sounds like many of us, right? But what Jesus said struck me when I read this passage. I do not believe that His words applied to Martha alone, but to us who are overwhelmed, as well. In the midst of the trial, the stress and the worry, one thing is needful: To simply sit at His feet and hear His word. Jesus was trying to get across to Martha (and to us) that the spiritual food is more important than the physical food! For man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God! (Matthew 4:4).
Beloved, I perceive that when the worry comes, if we would sit at His feet and hear His word (open our Bibles and read His promises and pray and commune with Him) then the majority of our worry and stress would dissipate. Will all our problems go away? Probably not, but I think we can face tomorrow so much better with a renewed mind that stands on the promises of God!
Satan wants you stressed, he wants you tired and he wants you worn down. He wants to break up the relationship between you and God and cast a wedge there. Because without God, you can do nothing. You will succumb to stress and worry, but with God, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26)! God’s truth will extinguish the lies of the devil 10 out of 10 times.
Saints, your stress, your worry, your lack; it’s not needful. One thing is needful: Communion with Jesus.
The Word of God says in Matthew 6:33, “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
If we would just put Him at the forefront of our minds and hearts and keep Him there, the journey would be so much easier.
The Lord is calling you to a more intimate relationship. I ask you, beloved, when was the last time you really prayed and sought His face? He said that if we would seek Him with our whole hearts then we would find Him (Jeremiah 29:13). When was the last time you really studied your Bible? When was the last time you worshiped in the middle of your peril?
One thing is needful for you; won’t you choose that good part? If you do, Jesus won’t take it away from you, but He will joyfully invite you into His presence every time.
“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” — Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
Steven Croft is the senior pastor of Boyd Memorial First Church of God in Athens.