Are you focused on the One Thing or all the things the world offers? Is there a good yield from your work? Is there joy and peace regardless of circumstances? Consider the journey of a once worldly young woman. ◊
The young woman said she used to actually treat her sweet friend, a Christian, with rudeness and disdain. But her friend stayed steady, kept loving her and never took offense. In fact, her friend always seemed to have a happy disposition even through circumstances in her own life were anything but happy or ideal.
The young woman did not understand that at all. How could one find peace and joy in the midst of life issues, challenges, and even one’s father dying?
Though the Christian friend consistently (over 3 years) invited the young woman to her church, the young woman told her that the only time she’d ever find herself in a church would be if she were lying dead at her own funeral.
Worldly and Callous
The young woman worked very hard to get what she wanted. In fact, anyone in the world would have wanted what she had: a high-income job with a cool technology company, the perfect, “cute boyfriend,” freedom and money to travel to exotic places around the world. All the pleasures the world could offer. And she was only in her twenties.
But she was miserable. She said she was empty, longing for whatever was missing. She didn’t even know what it was.
But her sweet Christian friend had it. That joy combined with peace and calm in any circumstance, positive or negative. The true rest and satisfaction that came from somewhere beyond the tangible mundane of this present world so full of unsustainable ups and false hopes.
Martha and Mary
There’s a brief but fascinating story in the Bible that sets up a comparison of 2 women, sisters actually, who encounter Jesus and behave very differently in their response to His presence in their home. It’s the popular story of Mary and Martha and the incident where Jesus enters their home for a meal. Here’s the story as told by Luke:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-41)
In fact, there are “many things” in this world that all of us, not just Martha, can get “worried and upset” about. Yes, “few things are needed.” Indeed there is “only one” thing that really matters and is before us as a choice. And Mary made the better choice. She chose the one thing; namely, to sit at the feet of Jesus without distraction. All that really mattered was right before both of them. Can you imagine how Martha felt years later? “I had Jesus here in my house, and I was worried about getting the table set! I should have spent more time with Him while we had Him here in our midst!”
From Martha to Mary
The young worldly and callous woman I mentioned at the beginning of this post is named Christy Childers. Today she works as a manager at Facebook here in the Silicon Valley and is the complete opposite of the callous woman previously described. Today she is much more like her sweet Christian friend, who Christy, out of her own frustration and desperation, finally sat down and asked outright how her friend could always be full of joy and peace regardless of her circumstances. The Christian friend told her essentially that she simply chose the one thing that really mattered, the better choice in life: a personal relationship with the God of all creation, Jesus of Nazereth. That same Jesus that Mary chose on whom to keep her life-sights, focus and full devotion.
Eventually Christy chose this one thing as well. And not superficially or half-heartedly. Today she is a highly productive worker in the marketplace, living like a Mary with her complete devotion to her Lord, who blesses her business work and her impact on the personal lives of many people around her. The fruit of Christy’s abiding Christian life is like a seed taking root in rich soil which blossoms to a yield one hundredfold.
She shared her story and testimony with over 120 Silicon Valley Martha’s and Mary’s and Jim’s and John’s at this past week’s Connect Silicon Valley’s Engage event in Palo Alto, California.
Have you chosen the One Thing?
“But the seed falling on good soil refers to someone who hears the word and understands it. This is the one who produces a crop, yielding a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.” – Matthew 13:23