The Good Portion

*This piece was written for and published in the August issue of Faith on Every Corner Magazine (2022). I share it here as an encouragement to continuously seek the One who is our strength and portion.

“My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).

It’s been a busy summer for the Byrum household.  Ball games, golf matches, and swim meets combined with work, house projects, and family functions have kept us hopping!  Far too often my daily list of desired tasks to accomplish seems to exceed the number of hours in a day.  Consequently, I often find myself focusing on the details of the day and fussing about “getting it all done.”  However, it’s comforting to know that I am not alone in this- a very good friend of Jesus once felt this way as well.  In the busy moments of life, I come back to the words our Lord spoke to her:  “You are worried and distracted by many things; but only one thing is necessary” (Luke 10:41).  

It’s a familiar story, Martha busily preparing her home for Jesus and the many guests who were sure to accompany him.  I can almost see her in my mind scurrying about the kitchen and living space, trying to make sure all was just as it should be for entertaining.  Likely she was playing the gracious host, ensuring her guests had all they needed.  After all, she had Jesus in her home!  Given the situation, it makes sense that her heart became angry when she saw her sister, Mary, sitting at the Master’s feet.  As you or I may have done, she indignantly asked Jesus if he would tell Mary to come help her. 

To the benefit of everyone who has ever read this recorded story, Jesus did not oblige.  Instead, he calmly told Martha that she had been distracted and that only one thing was needed.  He then said, “Mary has chosen the good portion, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:42).  

I often wondered what happened next.  Did Martha hang her head as she whispered a soft apology?  Or, in silence, did she quickly take a seat next to her sister? As verse 42 is the end of the story, we will have to wait to receive the details in heaven!  But if I were to guess, I’d bet that Martha never forgot those words.   

It’s easy to be a Martha, to be worried and distracted with tasks, serving, and wanting everything to be just right.  But Martha’s lesson is for us as well: Jesus is the good portion.  He is the one necessity in our everyday lives; the source of everything we need.  As Acts 17:28 and Colossians 3:11 remind us, in him we live and move and have our being and He alone is all in all.      

Whatever our day holds, be it child-rearing, meetings, or checking off countless items on our to-do list, nothing we can accomplish in a day compares to sitting at the feet of Jesus.  He is our highest treasure and our great inheritance.  He is the One who never fails us.  The psalmist reflected this truth when he wrote, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever” (Psalm 73:26).

As we continue to live in the chaos and business of our schedules; when we find ourselves fretting about how to “do it all,” let us remember that only one thing is necessary.  Like Mary, let us choose the good portion.      

Published by Nicole Byrum

Hello! I have been a therapist in the community mental health field for the last 13 years. During this time I have worked with numerous women in recovery from substance abuse. It was this work, along with my relationship with Jesus, that inspired me to write my first book, Remade: Living Free. I have found writing to be a joy and it is my aim through this website to continue to share my faith, insights, and hope with my readers. Some fun facts about me: I have been married for 15 years and have 2 children; I love to read, run and cook; Even though I have lived in Ohio for most of my life I am not a fan of cold weather!

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