The One Essential Thing

by Pastor Cornelius R. Stam

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The place of the Word in the life of the believer is settled once and for all in the inspired record of one of our Lord’s visits to the home of Mary and Martha (Luke 10:38-42).

Commentaries on this passage generally point out that both Mary and Martha had their good points! This, of course, is true, but if we limit ourselves to this observation we rob the account of its intended lesson, for our Lord did not commend both sisters for their “good points.” He reproved Martha and commended and defended Mary with regard to one particular matter.

What, exactly, was Mary commended for? How often she has been portrayed as an example to us to spend more time with the Lord in prayer! But this is missing the point of the passage. Mary was not praying; she “sat at Jesus’ feet, and HEARD HIS WORD.” She just sat there, drinking in all He had to say. This was “the one essential thing” which Mary had “chosen” and which our Lord said was not to be “taken away from her.” Thus, while prayer and testimony and good works all have their importance in the life of the believer, hearing God’s Word is “the one essential thing” above all others. Indeed, let this “one thing” be given its rightful place and all the rest will follow naturally.

It is granted, of course, that we must study the Word prayerfully and with open heart, or it will have disastrous, rather than beneficial results, but this only goes to place still further emphasis upon the supreme importance of the Word of God, which we seek, by sincere and prayerful study, to understand and obey.

To the Reader:

Some of our Two Minutes articles were written many years ago by Pastor C. R. Stam for publication in newspapers. When many of these articles were later compiled in book form, Pastor Stam wrote this word of explanation in the Preface:

"It should be borne in mind that the newspaper column, Two Minutes With the Bible, has now been published for many years, so that local, national and international events are discussed as if they occurred only recently. Rather than rewrite or date such articles, we have left them just as they were when first published. This, we felt, would add to the interest, especially since our readers understand that they first appeared as newspaper articles."

To this we would add that the same is true for the articles written by others that we continue to add, on a regular basis, to the Two Minutes library. We hope that you'll agree that while some of the references in these articles are dated, the spiritual truths taught therein are timeless.


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