Choose the Essentials

David G Bowman
3 min readOct 25, 2022


Luke 10:38–42 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!” “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed — or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10‬:‭38‬-‭42‬ ‭NIV‬‬

The Master said, “Martha, dear Martha, you’re fussing far too much and getting yourself worked up over nothing. One thing only is essential, and Mary has chosen it — it’s the main course, and won’t be taken from her.”

‭‭Luke‬ ‭10‬:‭41‬-‭42‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Few indeed are the essentials. Many instead are the distractions. Choose wisely.

Endless To-Dos

When you sit down this evening to write in your journal, what will you record as the most important matter of your day? From this moment’s perspective, you likely have an idea. The perspective then, looking back across the hours and opportunities, you may have another.

Right now, there is more on my To-Do List than I can do in a normal workday. This is completely fine. I will begin by working on the most important items and proceed from there. Near today’s end, I will reshuffle the deck for tomorrow.

Soul-Shaping Conversations

Yesterday was shaped in large part by six conversations. A mentoring appointment was followed by a lunch with a leader who was leaving to travel halfway around the world shortly after visiting with my coworker and me. Traveling to and from the lunch appointment included meaningful conversation.

A good friend was at our office when we returned. We had a long and consequential conversation. Our newlywed former assistant arrived a bit later. We laughed and discussed significant opportunities opening to her. The phone interrupted me as I was settling in for one of my favorite podcasts on the way home. An old friend with a big dilemma called for coaching.

A Handful of Essentials

There are a handful of essentials before me today. There are also distractions lurking. There are opportunities as yet I cannot see. Martha and Mary help us distinguish what is most important.

It appears Martha wanted to pull off the dinner party for the ages when Jesus showed up. It appears Mary simply wanted to be with Jesus.

Who is right?

Probably both. When it comes right down to it, however, spend time with Jesus. Lean in. Listen well. Take good notes. Do what he says. Experience the peace of his presence. Know his loving nature.

Tony served us at lunch yesterday. When asked how we could pray for him, he said, “Oh, you know, peace and love.” That’s what Mary experienced. That was a good day. It led to another important day. We find it in Luke 12:1–11. Look it up when you get a chance.


I will choose the essentials today.


Our Father, empower me to choose what is most essential today. Show me which interruptions are more important than what I have planned. Empower me to carry your peace and love through this day. Amen.



David G Bowman

I help people live better lives than they dreamed possible. @davidgbowman #lifedesign #lifeplanning #maximizeyourstory #DailyD