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“Just to be close to you, just to walk next to you.
This is my one thing. You are my one thing.
Just to be close to you, just to walk next to you.
This is my one thing. You are my one thing”
(Bethel, You Are My One Thing, 2014).
In their hit song “You Are my One Thing,” Bethel pens compelling words about what it means to hold Jesus as the most pivotal thing in your life. As Christians, however, we quickly realize that a relationship with Jesus is not a thing at all but a priority we must fix our gaze on daily.
While many of us would like to think that Jesus is our “One” we focus on more than all the others, the parable of the rich young man and Jesus tells another story that hits a bit too close for home.
What Must I Do?
In Mark chapter 10, beginning at verse 17, Jesus meets a rich young ruler who wants to know how he can achieve eternal life. The man is inquisitive and thirsty. He itches to possess something that cannot be taken from him, and so he asks the simple question: “What must I do to inherit eternal life” (Mark 10:17b, New International Version, emphasis added)?
In reply, the rich ruler awaits a list he thinks he has already mastered. Jesus lists off six commandments: “You shall not murder, you shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not give false testimony, you shall not defraud, honor your father and mother,” and the rich man has it made (Mark 10:19b, New International Version).
“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy” (Mark 10:20, New International Version).
The man is confident. Boasting and bragging a little, I am sure. He never expects to sulk away in defeat. Yet Jesus looked at him with love and noted one small problem: One Thing.
“Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth. Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God” (Mark 10:21-23, New International Version).
Didn’t the rich man realize he didn’t need to do anything? He simply needed to give his all to Jesus.
Today, I fear that many people walk away from the same; defeated, and empty. Exchanging One Person for One Thing that won’t really matter in the end.
Like the rich young ruler, would we give away everything we have to follow Jesus if and when He calls to us?
You might be thinking yes, but so was this man.
He would do and give anything for Jesus. Except for that one thing. And for him, that one thing was what money could buy. It kept him from following Jesus, and ultimately, it prevented him from changing his life for the better.
From time to time, I think we all have one thing that becomes more important to us. And despite the fact that many of us are unwilling to admit that, it is the one thing in your life that Jesus most puts His finger on, but you and I are masters at avoiding. So what is your One Thing?
For some, it looks like the hours they spend gorging on Netflix every night just to feel a little less lonely. For others, it disguises itself in relationships that become fantasies and marriages that morph into idols. For many, it looks like religion when Jesus asked us to live in His freedom. For myself, it deceives my thinking into believing the lies Satan places in my head.
No matter what your One Thing is, we must not allow it to stand in the way of following Jesus, our Most Important Person.
Because if I am honest, my One Thing comes up every day in the form of control. If I don’t know what tomorrow holds, how can I plan for it? If I don’t know when I am going to get sick, how can I prevent it? If I don’t read my Bible enough or pray correctly, am I still a true Christian? Can’t you hear the control?
This task of giving God the One Thing we try to cling to is not easy. Things like money, sex, idols, porn, control, religion, anxiety, you name it, are difficult things to surrender. Some of them, like religion and anxiety, for example, can even be good things. It is good to prioritize going to Church, having a relationship with Jesus, and praying. It is good to have anxiety as a natural response that attempts to warn and keep us from harm’s way.
But this is why Jesus says the task of a camel entering a needle is easier than getting a rich man to enter Heaven. He doesn’t say this because it is impossible, but He says this to acknowledge how difficult it can be to let go of that One Thing.
“The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God” (Mark 10:24-27, New International Version).
With God, all things are possible. And that includes laying down your One Thing, no matter what it is, and no matter how many days, hours, minutes, or seconds you have to continually lay it down again and again. Because He can and will help us lay down our One Things if we make Him our One Person that surpasses them all.
No matter what your One Thing might be, I pray that you are encouraged to know this: When we surrender all to God, the good, bad, ugly, and in-between, He promises to give us something far greater than the One Things we have attempted to and continually try to cling to within our hearts.
Yet as we release.
As we follow Him and leave it all behind in His hands, He gives us a hundred times as much as the present age and the age to come.
When we put our One Things under His control and put His One Things first, the first will be last, and the last will be first. The things we thought were so important will fade away, but the things we traded them in for will last forever.
“Then Peter spoke up, “We have left everything to follow you!” “Truly I tell you,” Jesus replied, “no one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age: homes, brothers, sisters, mothers, children and fields—along with persecutions—and in the age to come eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first” (Mark 10:29-31, New International Version).
Let Us Pray
Lord, please help us to entrust you with our One Things so that we may exchange them for your One Things that are of much greater value. Help us to release control, and enable us to see the value of things we cannot see. In Jesus’ Name, we pray. Amen.