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  • Writer's pictureCassandra K DeLeon

But ONE Thing is Needful

Updated: Apr 15, 2021

I could hear the tears in the little quivering voice.

“Mama”, she whispered through the phone, “I didn’t make it to the bathroom and I had an accident.”

It was the fall of 2002. Autumn, my oldest daughter, had just started kindergarten at the Christian school. It was not even a month into school that l received that devastating call from my little five year old.

“Bless her heart,” I thought. I was not concerned at first, believing she must just have had an intestinal bug. However, as the days turned to weeks, we became more alarmed. She began to lose weight as the bowel moments increased to upwards of 20 times a day and 5 times at night. By the time we were introduced to a gastrointestinal doctor at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, her stools had turned to blood.

We arrived at the hospital for her first of many colonoscopies. Her large brown eyes were red with tears. Fear was written all over her face as we helped her change into her tiny gown. As we waited for the nurses to take her away to her procedure, her lips began to tremble.

Her daddy gently picked her up, sat her on his lap, and rocked her, her head gently resting on his chest.

This is the picture that is burned in my mind: resting in her daddy’s comforting arms.

The procedure was still going to happen, the unknowns loomed just as large. Yet, because she had the confidence that her daddy was with her and that he would be with her again when this was finished, she was comforted.

This is the image I have in my mind when I consider the opportunity we have every day to spend time with our Heavenly Father, in His Word. It is there, in its pages, that our God brings us comfort. He gently teaches me doctrine (what is right), reproof (what is wrong), correction (how to make it right) and instruction in righteousness (how to live right) (2 Tim. 3:16). 1

According to a recent survey conducted by Lifeway 2 , ninety percent of churchgoers agreed to the statement “I desire to please and honor Jesus in all I do”, with nearly 60% saying they found themselves thinking about biblical truths throughout the day. Yet, few—less than 20%—admitted to reading their Bible every day.

Are you a college student running from class, to work, to study? Are you the mom of babies and toddlers, living such a busy and exhausting life that you can not even get a shower until noon? Perhaps you are a busy pastor’s wife or a mom juggling work and teenagers? Are you a loving daughter trying to care her aging parents and her own family?

And in the midst of it all, you rarely—if ever—can find time to regularly read and study the Bible. You have a heart for God but fail to truly spend time with Jesus in His Word in a consistent and meaningful way.

I believe this is where many of us Christian women live. We desire to please Jesus, we want to honor Him, to know him. However, but we struggle to take the time to meet with Him everyday.

Jesus addresses this very issue in Luke 10:38-42:

Now it came to pass, as they went, that he entered into a certain village: and a certain woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, which also sat at Jesus' feet, and heard his word.

But Martha was cumbered about much serving, and came to him, and said, Lord, dost thou not care that my sister hath left me to serve alone? bid her therefore that she help me.

And Jesus answered and said unto her, Martha, Martha, thou art careful and troubled about many things: But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

Here you have Jesus entering a village. Two women are introduced to us: a woman named Martha and her sister Mary.

Can imagine how Martha must have felt having Jesus visit her home? She was going to feed THE Jesus! He was probably not alone. He had his twelve disciples with Him. I can definitely see myself being very much like Martha, running here and there, trying to make everything perfect to serve the Lord and His disciples. The Bible tells hat she was distracted with much serving.

Yet her sister Mary is relaxing at Jesus’ feet, not doing anything—at least according to Martha. So Martha goes up to Jesus and says, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

Look at how Jesus answers Martha. He tells her, “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.”

According to Jesus, there is only “one thing.” One real priority.

All of the things we do as women to serve others—husbands, children, our church family, aging parents, those without Christ—are important. However reading the Bible to hear His voice is necessary—foundational and essential. Mary made the choice to sit at Jesus’ feet, to hear His words, and to worship Him.

She was doing the one thing necessary: spending time with Jesus.

To be honest with you, I did not always do this. In fact, I was the 90% that yearned to please and honor the Lord. I desperately wanted to time spent with Jesus. Yet I was the exhausted mother with nine children at home trying to be a pastor’s wife, homeschool my children, and still get that much needed shower by noon. And as much as I tried to find time to get into God’s Word, I just could not make it happen.

ONE verse. ONE truth. ONE application. Nothing more.

However, in 2014, after the birth of my youngest, I went through a very dark time in my life. I had just had my 11th baby and, although I did not realize it at the time, I was going through extreme postpartum depression. There is a longer story here that I will not go in to in this post. But because of my weakness and brokenness, I began to learn there is only ONE place to find true hope — One Person who is completely trustworthy.

As I hit bottom, I realized that I was not really anchored to God’s Word and lacked stability because of it. It was a wake up call to realize that I was not as secure as I thought and that I could not continue life in my own power anymore. So, I begged God to fill my broken heart.

And He did!

My Heavenly Father held my heart in His hand so gently. God used that dark period in my life to show me how much I truly needed Him. Every single day.

Elisabeth Elliot said, “A broken heart is a reminder of our only source of comfort” 3

Although I was still a very busy woman, I decided to focus my energy on meeting with Jesus every day—rather than just getting my Bible reading done. So, everyday, I would read just one verse, sentence, or paragraph in my Bible, rephrase it into my own words, and then make one application statement or “I will” statement based on a single truth. ONE verse. ONE truth. ONE application. Nothing more.

I began to look forward to my time with Jesus, rather than feeling guilty that I was not reading more.

And I fell in love with His Word and enjoy a daily communion with my Savior that I never thought possible before, that continues to this day.

Oh how the Word’s of God have literally been living water infusing new life into my heart!

I rejoice at thy Word, as one that findeth great spoil —Psalm 119:162

My enthusiasm for Jesus and His Word—as well as my utter failure to spend a close fellowship with Jesus on a consistent daily basis throughout the years—has become my message to the

everyone around me.

My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever (Psalm 73:26).

Jesus was Mary’s portion. He has become mine. Is He yours?

Several years ago when my youngest daughter was four years old, she ran with joy and delight onto her daddy’s lap—pouring out all her joys and sorrows for the day into his listening ear.Then I watched as he gently instructed her on several lessons that she could learn.

Every morning, as I sit on my couch, I come to my Heavenly Father, my Abba Daddy, with my

Bible in my hand just like my four year old comes to her daddy. I picture myself sitting at the

feet of Jesus and asking Him, What do you want me to do today? Is there anything in my life that you need me to change? How can I praise you today?

How about you? Are you reading the Word? Is Bible reading just a check list or are you genuinely spending time with Jesus? Are you in the Word listening to His Words?


1 Jim Berg, Changed Into His Image (Greenville, SC: BJU Press, 2018), 224.

2 Bible Engagement in Churchgoers’ Hearts, Not Always Practiced, Lifeway, 6 Sep. 2012,

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