Shut up and Listen to Jesus: One Thing’s Needful
My pastor, Rev. Dr. David Smith, is a great preacher. One of the reasons he is so good is because he is clear, to the point, and blunt. He does not attempt to impress us with big words, complex rhetorical devices or flights of rhetorical fancy. He just preaches, clearly and to the point and is a master of the proper distinction of Law and Gospel. This morning the Gospel lesson was the account of Mary and Martha. Pastor Smith used the opportunity to teach what the primary, and first, definition of worship is all about: receiving from Jesus, being served by the God who serves, just as Mary was doing when she sat at Christ’s feet, hearing him teach the Word of God. Pastor Smith said that one way to boil it all down is to realize that often we just have to "Shut up and listen to Jesus." Terse. Blunt. To the point. Spot on true! I like that advice. It’s one of those "stick to your ribs" type of sermonic observations that you will remember for some time.
One of my favorite hymns features the account of Mary and Martha: One Thing’s Needful: Lord This Treasure by Johann H. Schroeder. Here are the words. I encourage you to prayerfully meditate on these powerful words:
One thing’s needful; Lord this treasure
Teach me highly to regard;
All else, though it first give pleasure,
Is a yoke that presses hard.
Beneath it the heart is still fretting and striving,
No true, lasting happiness ever deriving.
The gain of this one thing all loss can requite
And teach me in all things to find true delight.
Wilt thou find this one thing needful,
Turn from all created things
Unto Jesus and be heedful
Of the blessèd joy He brings.
For where God and Man both in one are united,
With God’s perfect fulness the heart is delighted;
There, there is the worthiest lot and the best,
My One and my All and my Joy and my Rest.
How were Mary’s thoughts devoted,
Her eternal joy to find
As intent each word she noted,
At her Savior’s feet reclined!
How kindled her heart, how devout was its feeling,
While hearing the lessons that Christ was revealing!
For Jesus all earthly concerns she forgot,
And all was repaid in that one happy lot.
Thus my longings, heav’nward tending,
Jesus, rest alone on Thee.
Help me, thus on Thee depending;
Savior, come and dwell in me.
Although all the world should forsake and forget Thee,
In love I will follow Thee, ne’er will I quit Thee.
Lord Jesus, both spirit and life is Thy Word;
And is there a joy which Thou dost not afford?
Wisdom’s highest, noblest treasure,
Jesus, lies concealed in Thee;
Grant that this may still the measure
Of my will and actions be,
Humility there and simplicity reigning,
In paths of true wisdom my steps ever training.
Oh, if I of Christ have this knowledge divine,
The fulness of heavenly wisdom is mine.
Naught have I, O Christ, to offer
Naught but Thee, my highest Good.
Naught have I, O Lord, to proffer
But Thy crimson-colored blood.
Thy death on the cross hath Death wholly defeated
And thereby my righteousness fully completed;
Salvation’s white raiments I there did obtain,
And in them in glory with Thee I shall reign.
Therefore Thou alone, my Savior,
Shalt be All in all to me;
Search my heart and my behavior,
Root out all hypocrisy.
Restrain me from wandering on pathways unholy
And through all life’s pilgrimage keep my heart lowly.
This one thing is needful, all others are vain;
I count all but loss that I Christ may obtain.