Just What is Essential?

Lately, we’ve heard the word ‘essential’ used quite a bit.  By definition, the word essential means something that is absolutely necessary or indispensable.  People have jobs that are essential, or nonessential.  Businesses and services are either essential or nonessential.  Travel can be essential or nonessential.  A desire to see a medical professional can be deemed essential or nonessential.  Someone else is evaluating all of these things regarding just how critical they are. 

One of the positive things in my experience with the COVID 19 pandemic is evaluating the things in my life that are essential or nonessential.  Unfortunately, right now I am not allowed to gather with so many loved ones that I consider to be essential.  So, I must be selective in what I discern to be essential in my life.

With activities, events and school cancelled, and a lot of businesses closed, many of us are finding that we have quite a bit of time on our hands.  We are spending so much more time at home.  I have found it to be very pleasant to have so many of the demands on my day removed.  My schedule is wide open.  I get to choose how I will spend my time each day.  It is up to me to decide what is essential or nonessential.  As I evaluate what activities each day are worth my time, I like to include things that will make a significant difference – to the community, to my family, and to myself. 

Mary Heard His Word, by Walter Rane

I am reminded of an experience in the New Testament when Jesus went to Bethany to visit some friends – Lazarus and his sisters, Mary and Martha.  You may remember the story.  Martha was busy preparing a meal to serve her family and honored guest.  Mary chose to not help Martha, but sat at the Savior’s feet listening with reverent attention to His words.  She was enthralled. 

I don’t want to be critical of Martha because I can relate to her on so many levels.  Most of the time, I am Martha.  Maybe Martha shows her love by taking care of people, and providing for their needs.  So, Martha was disgruntled that Mary was not helping her, and complained to Jesus about it.  Do you remember Jesus’ reply?  He said, “Martha, Martha, thou are 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.”

Jesus had so much more to offer his friends than they could provide to him by serving a nice meal.  Jesus taught Martha that Mary had discerned what was essential, and that’s how she chose to spend her time.  Christ was that good part that Mary had chosen.  Time spent at the Savior’s feet – in prayer and in scripture study is essential to the well-being of my soul.  If I invest this time daily, all the good I gain from doing so will not be taken away from me.  I can be filled with a stronger testimony of the Savior, Jesus Christ, His love and His peace.  Jesus Christ is absolutely necessary, indispensable to me.