5 verses taught me what’s most important

5 verses taught me what’s most important

My friend Camden McAfee is Communication Coordinator at PULSE, an evangelistic ministry that exists to awaken culture to the reality of Jesus. He writes about knowing God at Countercultural and here he talks about the “one thing” we must pay attention to

…this is one of the most impactful spiritual lessons I ever learned. During my senior year of college, I searched the Bible for the phrase “one thing” because I wanted to know what the Bible counted most important. The five Bible verse results that came back have shaped my faith and this blog.

One Thing I Ask

Psalm 27:4
One thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.

David was called “a man after God’s own heart.” Although David could have wanted many things (victory over his enemies, the crown on his head), we see him relentlessly return his focus to God. David sought God more than any earthly treasure.

One Thing You Lack

Mark 10:21
And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.”

The rich young ruler claimed to be righteous, but he is unwilling to give Jesus the one thing He asked for: himself. The rich young ruler was willing to impress Jesus with his track record, but he was unwilling to surrender his status.

One Thing is Necessary

Luke 10:41-42
But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

One day Martha had an unexpected houseguest—the Son of God. While she toils over a meal for Jesus and twelve other men, Mary sits at Jesus’ feet. Jesus responds to her complaint by saying, “You are anxious and troubled with much serving.” Martha was so focused on doing a good thing that she missed out on the best thing.

One Thing I Know

John 9:25
He answered, “Whether He is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

A man born blind is healed by Jesus. When interrogated by the religious leaders, he doesn’t present a well-prepared speech or get intimidated. He simply tells his story: He was blind, but now he sees. In response, Jesus declares the blind man seeing and the religious leaders blind.

One Thing I Do

Philippians 3:13-14
Brothers, I do not consider that I have made it my own. But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

The apostle Paul didn’t let the baggage of his past dictate his goal. He was focused. He knew his goal, and he wasn’t going to waver. This Pharisee of Pharisees, who had everything going for him, laid down his life to follow Jesus.

One thing - from Christ

Photo: Rykeneethling

5 Verses, 1 Lesson

These five verses highlight five different people from five different walks of life, yet each point to the same lesson:

  • David: Knowing God is at the heart of prayer.
  • Rich young ruler: Knowing God is at the heart of surrender.
  • Martha: Knowing God is at the heart of service.
  • Blind man: Knowing God is at the heart of witness.
  • Paul: Knowing God is at the heart of ambition.

In summary, the lesson is this: Our lives are to be singularly focused on Jesus.

Each story is about not being distracted—by aims or money or serving or fear or our past—but being completely centered on Jesus. When we strain to follow Him, our hearts are filled with joy and purpose and love. When we fix our eyes on Him, we receive the one thing our souls truly long for: Himself.

If you enjoyed reading this blog try The 3 Ideas that Will Change Your Faith Forever and Questions We’re Afraid to Ask About the Bible

  • Rev Ian Gaylard

    Wonderful article

  • exit83

    Great morning study Chris;)
    Agree, although I like the “simplicity “of the top two commandments . Loving God with all your heart , your soul, your might…. And then right behind that one, Love your neighbor as yourself . Boy what a different world it would be.

    • Hi – I will let Camden as the author reply here – thanks for dropping in!

    • Thanks for reading! I definitely agree with you (and Jesus!) about the two greatest commandments—love God and love people. You’re right; if we could get those two down, the world would be a much better place.

      I would still stand by my statement that knowing God is the “most important.” Why? Because true, God-honoring love of Him and others springs from the knowledge of God.

      I bet you will agree with me that Matthew 7:21-23 is one of the most chilling passages in the Bible. It’s about people who come to Jesus expecting a welcome into the kingdom of heaven, but they are rejected. What’s Christ’s response? “I never knew you.” This passage shows me that it’s possible to do the right actions that show love of God and others, but if not rooted in personally knowing God, I may be permanently banned from heaven.

      I completely agree with you, and I hold to my point. If I really know who God is, then I will love God and others. However, it is possible live a life that looks like service to God and others and finally get rejected by Jesus because we didn’t know Him.

  • Nancy Mohr

    Timely reminder!

  • Good piece, sometimes we make things too complicated.

    • Thanks, Dylan. Jesus didn’t make it complicated. Maybe we shouldn’t, either. =)

  • William C. Hensel

    Two things that occur to me as I soak in this ‘one thing’ message:
    1. It links with one of my favorite passages, Hebrews 12:1-3.
    2. Camden’s approach reminds me of the priceless riches that flow back from pursuing a similar project by seeking out passages with the little phrase ‘but God’ across Bible text.

    • Hi William! I love your two points. Hebrews 12:1-3 has been a central passage in my life because it gets down to what is most important. I also love the idea of looking up “but God” in Scripture, as I’ve noticed many times when that phrase has jumped out to me. Maybe a good follow-up project!

  • Edna Rodriguez

    If we keep our eyes on Jesus in our hustle and bustle world, we will soon realize He is always at our side. It is us that just need to step back, or in a whisper, say His name. Acknowledge Him always and in all things give thanks to Him

    • Great thoughts, Edna. It really is a matter of focus—we can either pay attention to the wind and the waves, or we can fix our eyes on Jesus.

  • Todd

    The blog concerning the ‘one thing’ was incredible. As I pondered the richness of the writing and discovering what’s most important, I couldn’t help but think of ways this is played out in everyday lives. I found myself thinking about some young kids that I know and how wonderful it would be for them to realize this truth much sooner than I did. In fact, the content of this blog has ignited a passion within me for sharing its truth as a fictional story for young readers. I would like to use the ‘one thing’ content for this project but want to make absolutely certain to give credit where credit is due and to not infringe upon any original intellectual property. Could you give any direction or advice concerning the use of the ideas contained within the blog? Thank you.

    • Absolutely – that one is from Camden (email sent)