Luke 10:38-42 (NIV) -- As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "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."
Are you satisfied with your life, or do you wish you had better? Do you consider yourself a happy person? It's natural to want a happy, meaningful life. We often seek happiness in the outward things in our lives--career, marriage, money, success, possessions, church life. You can find a lot of pleasure in working hard to make your career successful, and in receiving that success. You can find a lot of happiness in having a good relationship with your spouse or with your friends. You can find a lot of satisfaction in helping others through volunteer work.
Yet when you seek your happiness and your satisfaction in the things of this world, that happiness can quickly disappear. You can quickly lose everything you have. A tornado can take away your possessions. A change in the economy can take away your career and your money. An accident can take away your friends or your spouse or your own health. Happiness based on earthly things is a very fragile happiness.
Jesus came to bring us true happiness and true peace. He came to make our lives truly successful and meaningful. The happiness Jesus brings doesn't come through earthly things like money or marriage or anything else. Jesus tells us that only one thing is important.
Jesus once visited some friends, two women named Martha and Mary. When Jesus came to their house, he began to teach his followers, and Mary sat down and listened to him, too. Martha decided it was more important to get working on supper, because she suddenly had a lot of people to feed. With so much work to be done, she was irritated that Mary wasn't helping, but was just sitting around, listening to Jesus.
When Martha complained to Jesus that Mary wasn't helping, Jesus told her, "Martha, Martha, 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" (Luke 10:41-42). Martha was missing the big picture. She was worried about getting supper ready, and was missing out on Jesus himself and what he was doing.
We do the same thing. We spend a lot of time worrying about minor things and seeking happiness in earthly things, and forget that in the end only one thing matters--our relationship with God. Even though all our earthly happiness can be taken away from us in a moment, Jesus brought us happiness which can never be taken away.
Without Jesus we could never have a relationship with God. Sin gets between us and God. Sin makes us enemies of God who deserve only God's punishment. Without God, we have nothing. Sure, we can have happy times, we might have an outwardly satisfying life, but in the end it all comes to nothing. Because of sin, no matter how happy we seem or think we are or how well we think we live, we have nothing to look forward to after we die.
Jesus came to change all that. Jesus came to bring us the one thing we need. Jesus came to bring us a relationship with God, which we could never have on our own. Jesus died on the cross to pay the penalty for sin. Because he did that, God forgives us and makes us his children. Through Jesus, you have a relationship with God--the one thing you need for a truly happy and satisfying life. Nothing in the world can take away that happiness, because it isn't based on yourself or on anything in this world, but on Jesus and his sacrifice for you.