With talk about new year’s almost out of date, let me take the next couple of blog posts to encourage you to make sure you do at least one thing this year. As the habit of making resolutions go, I can often find myself overwhelmed by the almost innumerable things I want to do, should do and need to do in a new year. Reflection upon life as I get older awakens me to the fact that some things MUST be done now that used to not be an issue while other things that I used to think were important find themselves lost in the abyss of insignificance.
Over the last several days, I have thought, prayed and considered many things. I’ve used a lot of time to think about what is essential for me to have a life that is well lived. Here’s a good question for you to consider: if you were about to die and you only got to share one truth that you have gleaned from this life, what would it be?
As I considered that thought, I came to realize that unlike a list of “resolutions”, which can often be cumbersome, overwhelming and simply too long, if I could just focus on one thing, that would be much more “doable”. Not only doable but easy to remember, enact, and achieve. My success rate would perhaps be guaranteed if I could simply focus on one thing.
Going through this process of considering what one thing I would give myself to this year reminded me of a clip from an old movie called City Slickers starring Billy Crystal and Jack Palance. An edited version of the clip can be found here: City Slickers, One Thing. As noted in the clip, the old cowboy says the one thing is “what you have to figure out” on your own. Your one thing may be different than mine. However, if I could persuade you, as though on my deathbed, with one thing to focus your time, energy, and even life on this year, it would be this one thing.
Without hesitation, without reservation the one thing I feel is the most vital, important, necessary, and best thing I, you or anyone can do this year is to cultivate a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. There is nothing God wants more than this for you or me in 2013.
That idea, concept, and truth has rung in my head like a bell tower for almost a week. There is nothing more important for my life than spending personal, intimate time with Christ. This is the one thing I can do, need to do, should do and even want to do, than anything else: to know Christ and be known by Him. Doing that will inform, reform, and reshape who I am and what my life is all about.
In Luke 10:38-42 there is a very interesting scenario that plays out with Jesus, some of his closest friends and His disciples. Jesus is invited to Martha’s home in Bethany. Bethany happened to be a place Jesus went often and in fact, Martha’s home is one where he spent several nights while He had his ministry. He was dear friends with the whole family: Martha, Mary and Lazarus.
In this particular story, we get some wonderful insight into a dilemma Martha created for herself. She was the one who had invited Jesus over to the house and therefore she felt responsible to make sure everything was just right. There’s no one alive who wouldn’t understand the pressure Martha must have felt in having Jesus come over to the house. Anyone of us would be frantically detailing our home with much attention to cleanliness and orderliness while giving ourselves to as much decorum as possible once He arrived.
The story informs us that Martha was so worried and troubled about the “many preparations” she had to make that she became infuriated over the fact that her sister was not helping with the work. My point today is Martha was trying to focus on “many things” as opposed to Mary’s “one thing”. I’ll discuss the implications of this act on another blog post but for today let me offer you a couple reasons why one thing is best.
It is simpler and easier.
Martha was running around trying to multitask and make the most of the chance she had at entertaining Jesus. But her multitasking took her away from the very thing she had indicated in her invitation: to spend time with Jesus. Sure she would have wanted to cook Him a meal, provide Him a comfortable bed, with good rest for the evening. However, I would dare to say that Jesus’ main intention on being in her home was nothing short of relationship. He simply wanted to spend time with her. He wasn’t interested in the song and dance, the fine dining experience or having a 5 star room. He was interested in talking with and sharing life with them all.
Recent research shows that multitaskers may actually get less done. How ironic! Taking this into consideration, having one thing as a focus is not only easier and simpler, it is safer. Choosing one thing this year as a main theme, goal or focus is most certainly the best way to ensure its integration into your life and success by the end of 2013.
It is what’s most important.
If you were going to pick one thing to do this year, you certainly wouldn’t pick something that was non-valuable or lacking meaning to yourself personally. I would think limiting yourself to one thing would draw you to the most important thing you would want to see happen in your life in 2013. By narrowing your “to-do” list to one thing, you are able to live much more intentional. Having a long list divides you attention, time, etc. Look at Martha again as our example.
Martha was taken away from time with the Lord. She was distanced not only in space but in heart and attitude. She had become indignant with the Lord Himself and resented Mary for her choice to sit rather than serve. Because Martha was distracted by so may things, she was disgruntled by everything. How’s your attitude lately? Are you complaining? Are you pointing fingers? Perhaps you have become distracted from the one thing the Lord wants from you?
If you haven’t nailed down what your one thing is this year, may I urge you to choose what I am choosing and what Mary chose: to spend time with the Lord. If there’s one thing that will not only last forever but change our lives, I believe it is this. I believe without a doubt that this one thing is the most important thing anyone can do!
“The main thing is to keep the main thing, the main thing.” May spending time with Jesus be your main thing this year. I really believe that if you and I do this, every other “resolution”, goal, plan, desire, and hope will find its place accordingly.