That Good Part

Christ with Mary and Martha,” by Jacopo Tintoretto 

We are all allotted 24 hours each day. How do we choose to spend that time? Some of our activities are obligations: we have to do our jobs and fulfill other responsibilities we have previously accepted. Some activities, including eating, sleeping, and exercise, are necessary to maintain our health. Others, such as education, building relationships, and worshipping God, represent long-term investments which will bless us and others over time. And then there are time-wasters: activities which provide no real benefit to us or to others either now or in the future, which we engage in merely to “pass the time” and perhaps to avoid boredom.

When Martha complained to Jesus that Mary was not helping with household duties, Jesus responded first with empathy: “Thou art careful and troubled about many things.” But He went on to explain the value of Mary’s prioritization. “One thing is needful,” He said, “and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

One way to interpret this passage is to think about the time horizon of their activities. Martha was engaged in activities which met short-term needs. Mary was doing something which produced intangible benefits that would last much longer. I don’t think Jesus was saying, “Stop serving others and spend all your time listening to the word of God.” I think He was saying, “Recognize the value of what your sister is doing, and find some balance.”

When Alma was serving as both chief judge and high priest, he recognized the need to rebalance. The church needed more of his time than he was able to give, so he made the difficult decision to give up his civic responsibility and dedicate his time to his ecclesiastical service. “And thus in the commencement of the ninth year of the reign of the judges over the people of Nephi, Alma delivered up the judgment-seat to Nephihah, and confined himself wholly to the high priesthood of the holy order of God” (Alma 4:20).

Not all of our rebalancing decisions will be as dramatic as Alma’s, but we can all benefit from periodically reviewing our utilization of time and making appropriate adjustments. This week’s Come, Follow Me lesson includes the following suggestion: “You may want to examine how you spend your time—even on good things. Is there something more “needful” that deserves more of your attention?”

In the April 2023 issue of the Liahona magazine, President Russell M. Nelson makes the following observation:

Some of God’s children live as though they are not planning on dying. Others live as if they will face no accountability for their actions. Are we making decisions for eternity or for today only? We cannot set our priorities on the temporal things of this world and be prepared for the eternal things of the next world.

Jesus Christ Is Our Savior,” Liahona, April 2023

He then listed some activities which will help us prepare: focusing on the Savior and His gospel, exercising faith, making and keeping covenants with God, overcoming our physical appetites, and developing Christlike attributes. Each of these activities deserves some of our time and energy.

Today, I will review how I am spending my time and make adjustments as needed. I will remember to prioritize activities with long-term benefits, and I will make adjustments to my schedule and habits which enable me to dedicate appropriate time to those activities.

2 thoughts on “That Good Part

Add yours

  1. Hello!
    My name is Benedict and I’m 15. I don’t know if you saw my other comment but I’m establishing a personal belief system/religion for myself (for myself only-I don’t want to convert anyone) and it’s been heavily influenced by the LDS faith. I want to be ordained as the first elder (a position within my personal religion) of my religion, and I was wondering if you could say a blessing for me/ordain me as the first priest of my religion. I asked to be blessed by someone who holds the LDS priesthood as my spirituality holds deep connection to the LDS faith. My religion is very similar to the LDS faith. I wasn’t raised LDS but I am developing a spirituality that is heavily influenced by it.


    1. Benedict,
      Thank you for your comments today. I’m grateful to hear that the teachings of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have been helpful to you in your spiritual journey.
      The Book of Mormon explains how priests were ordained anciently. The elders of the church would lay their hands on the head of the person. Then, in the name of Jesus Christ, they would ordain him to a specific priesthood office and pronounce a blessing on him by the power of the Holy Ghost. (See Moroni 3.)
      I am unable to ordain you a priest as you requested, because the ordinance must be performed according to the instructions given by God. I applaud your desire to receive priesthood authority, and I would encourage you to take the following actions as part of your preparation:
      1. Learn more about the priesthood by studying the topic on the Church’s website:
      2. Meet with missionaries from the Church, who can help you better understand the process for receiving the priesthood. Here is a webpage that you can use to request a visit:
      I hope those suggestions are useful to you. Congratulations on your proactive efforts to learn more about God and grow closer to Him!


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