Andrew Schroer writes a faith column for the Victoria Advocate.

Do me a favor. I’d like to try a little experiment. Raise your index finger and hold it about a foot in front of your face. Now focus closely on that finger. Do you notice how everything else becomes somewhat blurry or distorted?

Now, keep your finger there, but focus on something else in the room. Your finger should then become blurry and distorted. You may even see two fingers.

That’s called “selective focus.” When we focus our vision on certain objects, everything else in the periphery becomes blurred or distorted.

In Luke Chapter 10, Luke tells us the story of two sisters, Mary and Martha. They were good friends of Jesus who lived in the tiny village of Bethany, just outside of Jerusalem. In fact, when Jesus visited Jerusalem, he would often stay at their home.

One day, Jesus came for a visit. Martha busily tried to get everything ready, preparing the food, cleaning the house, making sure the house was just right. But while she hurriedly tried to get everything done, her sister Mary lounged leisurely in the living room talking to Jesus.

As you might imagine this frustrated Martha to the point that she suddenly blurted out, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me.”

“Martha, Martha,” Jesus replied. “You are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better and it will not be taken away from her.”

Was it wrong that Martha wanted to give Jesus a good dinner or have the house clean for him? Of course not. In fact, that was a good thing. Jesus wasn’t saying that what Martha was doing was bad. It’s just that what Mary was doing was infinitely more important.

Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet listening to him speak to her. According to Jesus, the most important thing we can do with our time – the one thing we need the most – is to listen to him speak to us.

And He does that through his word, the Bible.

In His word, he reminds us of what is really important. He reminds us of our own mortality. You are going to die one day, and when you do, you will have to face God the Judge. You will have to face the consequences of all your failings and failures.

But God also tells us in His word what Jesus did to save us from our sins and win for us heaven. God’s word shows us the way to heaven through faith in Jesus. God’s Word gives us the peace and strength we need to face the storms and struggles of this life. God’s word guides us and helps us make good choices in our lives.

Raise your index finger again. Taking time to listen to God’s word – taking time to regularly go to church and to read our Bibles – is the one thing we need the most.

But, like Martha, we often lose focus. We start focusing on all the other things going on in our lives. They aren’t even necessarily bad things. We have many good and important things we can spend our time on. The problem is that we so easily lose focus. We forget what the most important thing is. We forget that one day we are going to die.

There is nothing more important you can do in your life than sit regularly at Jesus’ feet and learn from him. So go to church every week. Read your Bible every day.

Keep your focus on the one thing needful.

Pastor Andrew Schroer has been a pastor for nearly 20 years and is currently serving at Redeemer Lutheran Church with campuses in Edna and Victoria, Texas. Read more of his devotional writing and contact him at 364DaysofThanksgiving.com.

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