One Thing is Necessary

One Thing is Necessary

Jesus said, “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and ye shall find; knock and it will be opened to you.”(Matt.7: 7).  “For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things will be added unto you.”(Matt.6: 32,33).

In Luke 10:38–42, Jesus gives one of the most poignant answers: But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.” Jesus guaranteed His followers that they would face hard times (John 16:33). But He promised that He would always be with them (Matthew 28:20).

During the communist regime,  I experienced a level of persecution for my faith while planting churches in western part of Ethiopia. I had been jailed six times, had been beaten unconscious and was even kidnapped. After planting more than 50 churches with  my colleagues, I came to Canada in April 2009.
I was born in Christian family. During my youth, the pastor spoke about the Holy Spirit and I was touched with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ came alive to me then  my heart was changed.  As soon as I finished high school, I was put in prison for six months because of persecution during Ethiopia’s communist regime. They found us at an underground prayer meeting at night, even though we had been trying to pray as quietly as possible. When the persecution came, we had great love and great unity as a church. Church members sent us messages and came to the prison and encouraged us. Some begged the guards to be thrown in prison as well, just so they could stay with us. When our fellow prisoners saw the way other believers treated us, most of them came to faith in Jesus Christ and we started a prison fellowship.  Another time I was put in prison with 41 people. The day I arrived and began speaking with them, all the people came to faith. In the prison, I taught them the basics of following Jesus Christ from memory: baptism, the Lord’s Supper, the Trinity, etc. The day we were released from prison, we went to the river and I baptized all 41 of them. Today many of them are preachers and pastors in Ethiopia. If they didn’t put me in prison, who would have told them the gospel or discipled them? I find that every time the persecution comes, God has a purpose in it.
I never experienced fear in the moment that persecution arose. Because my mind was full of Gods' words “Desire only one thing, only one thing is necessary.” At that time,the Holy Spirit was dwelling in me and I knew just what to say and what to do. Sometimes when I am sitting here in Canada, I wonder, “How did I pass through that?  So the Persecution helped me to focus on a single objective. Once we understand the purpose to which God called us – then no matter what comes, we will be alive in that purpose. Even today,  I have only one thing in my mind: praying and meditating on God’s word. If we do this, change will come in our lives and churches as well. Here in North America we don’t depend as much on God because we think that we have everything. I’ve noticed that many of us pray for a ‘grocery list’ of wants: a new job, or other earthly things. But, like David wrote in Psalm 27, we need to seek the glory of God. So my great message for our churches is to change our prayer from a grocery list to the glory of God.  At that time we’ll understand that God is full of beauty; everything else is vanity.

“One thing is necessary.” I have to ask myself, Do I actually believe that? Is it reflected in the way that I view my time? I’m not used to thinking about what’s necessary. When I look at my time management: Things I must do,(paying bills or feeding kids etc); things I should do, ( exercising, cleaning rooms, kitchen etc); and things I want to do, such as (going out to dinner or shopping etc). God is too easily forgotten in all of  our busy lives. We can sometimes be too busy, too tired, too entertained, or too overwhelmed to care.

What else did Jesus say about Mary? Not only was she doing the one necessary thing, but she had chosen the good portion. The good portion was necessary, but it also was a choice. God is with us and gives us the words in time of crisis, just as Jesus promised! May we all strive to see the glory of God displayed here in North America.