Jesus told the disciples, concerning Mary, that only one thing was needful, or needed. This one thing, sitting at His feet, listening to His words in humility, is all that was necessary. This could be likened to the mustard seed, the simple seed of faith, willingness to hear His voice, as it says in the Proverbs, “Wisdom cries aloud in the street” (Proverbs 1:20).
But, let us consider another time in Jesus’ life, when there was something that seemed vital, but proved not necessary.
Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Here, what the disciples thought they needed was something other than what they had, but Jesus does not respond and agree. Instead, He redirects the focus of the disciples to something else. When we consider Luke 17:5, where the disciples asked Jesus to “increase” their faith, His response was nearly the same.
What was needful, the only thing necessary, was the One Thing, the only thing, listening, following, and obeying Jesus.
Consider the alternative. Many a revivalist has come and gone, preaching about the coming of the super believers, those whose faith would overcome death itself. And, indeed, this is coming in some form or another, as it says that the last enemy to be defeated is to be death (1 Corinthians 15:26). But, one must keep in mind that it is not strength in the eyes of man that counts, but in God’s.
What was important to Jesus was not the exterior, but the interior. It was not more faith, it was purer faith. It was not the addition, the increase, the more, the abundance, but it was its aloneness.
Faith, great faith, lives in the undistracted. Faith, pure faith, lives in fascination, adoration.
The miracles will fade, the great feats will go away, but these three remain, faith, hope, and love, and the greatest of these is love.