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.” Luke 10:41-42
She is distracted from “the one necessary thing.” What does Jesus mean? I think He means this: “Martha, you’re thinking about lots of things. And I’m not saying they are unimportant. But you’ve forgotten what is most important. You’re trying to serve a meal of food. Mary has chosen to eat a meal of the Word of God. That’s the best portion of food she could ever eat. And I’m not going to take that from her!”
As one commentator says, “This is Luke’s message to [all] disciples: sit at Jesus’ feet and devour his teaching, since there is no more important meal.”
So what is the “one necessary thing”? Coming to know and love God with all your heart.
Jesus says Mary has chosen “the good portion.” The picture here is of God Himself as our portion of food, or our portion of the family’s inheritance. This is a frequent image in the Old Testament. Here are a couple of examples:
Whom have I in heaven but you? And there is nothing on earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever. Psalm 73:25-26
The LORD is my portion; I promise to keep your words. Psalm 119:57
The psalmist is saying, “I will be satisfied with You; I will long for nothing else. I will feed on you.” God is His portion. He is satisfied in Him.