If You Traded It All For One Thing

Think for a moment. If you could trade everything in your life for one thing—only one thing—what would it be?

In 2003, Finger Eleven released a song entitled “One Thing” to overwhelming success. The chorus of the song goes:

If I traded it all, if I gave it all away for one thing
Just for one thing
If I sorted it out if I knew all about this one thing
’t that be something

Your answer to the question says a great deal about your heart. For some people, that “one thing” is a safe life. For others it’s a painless life. Still others, it’s riches and leisure.

But is that what we really want? Really?

Please join me as we discuss this in our daily Bible conversation.

Jeremiah 28:1-31:26
1 Timothy 1:1-2:15
Psalm 86:1-87:7
Proverbs 25:17-19


Jeremiah 28:1-31:26. God issues a message to the exiles: Settle down. Start your families. Stop waiting for deliverance and live as normal as possible. Then he offers this assurance:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. ” Jeremiah 29:11

Even in  your most dire situation, God hasn’t forgotten about you. He knows his plans for you—and they include hope and a future.

1 Timothy 1:1-2:15. After Paul and Barnabas’s acrimonious split regarding the involvement of John Mark in their travels, Paul brought another protégé under his care. Paul felt a deep affection for Timothy, his “true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). In  this first of two letters, Paul was giving instructions to young Timothy who is now pastoring the great church in Ephesus.

Paul’s initial instruction is important: stay in Ephesus and command “certain men not to teach false doctrines any longer” (1 Timothy 1:3). The doctrines we believe are important, regardless what critics inside and outside the church say. Throughout the Pastoral Epistles (1 Timothy through Philemon) you’ll find the word “doctrine” appear again and again.

Timothy is then given a trustworthy saying: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst” (1 Timothy 1:15). Pastors need to deal with their congregations as fellow sinners. Unfortunately, not all of them have taken Paul’s words to heart.

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All of us were created for one thing. Like a square peg in a round hole, when we aspire for the wrong thing or for more than one thing, we experience a discontinuity in our lives.

David was described as a man after God’s heart (1 Samuel 13:14). In Psalm 86:11, he journaled his “one thing”:

“Teach me your way, O Lord, and I will walk in your truth; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name.”

Do you sense the innocence in this prayer? It begins with an attitude of humility that says, God, I don’t know you or your ways nor will I discover them on my own. “Teach me your way, O Lord.”

One of the most arrogant phrases in the English language is “I know.” How often does God speak to our hearts and we answer “I know!”—and then we do our own thing anyway.

David begins with the humble acknowledgement that he doesn’t know God. The only way we can walk in truth—to live in alignment with God’s desires—is to sit at the feet of our heavenly Father and glean from him by spending time in the Word and meditative prayer.

Then David prays, Give me an undivided heart that I may fear your name. A divided heart is a heart with multiple loyalties, affections, and desires. An undivided heart is singularly focused on one desire. It’s one thing versus multiple things. And David chose well because his one thing was knowing God’s ways which was rooted in knowing God. The fruit of the undivided, God-directed life is a life that that fears, reveres God and takes him seriously. But it’s also the life that enjoys God and revels in his pleasure.

Not coincidentally, God spoke through Jeremiah in today’s reading, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. ” (Jeremiah 29:13, NIV)

Quite often we desire one thing from God, but not God. We want his hope, his comfort, his provision, his protection…but we don’t desire him. Yet when we desire him apart from what he can do for us, we still get everything.

What divides your heart?


  1. What spoke to you in today’s reading?
  2. What is your “one thing”?
  3. What do you want your “one thing” to be?

What needs to change in your life in order to bring the two into alignment?

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Michael co-pastors The Neighborhood Church with Eugene Scott in Littleton, Colorado.

1 Comment

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One response to “If You Traded It All For One Thing

  1. elna

    Hananiah, the prophet, believed in “name it and claim it” As long as you believe it God must follow your decisions and rulings and give you what you want. It is so easy to read all the nice blessings and promises in the Bible and to skim over and ignore the curses. We forget that we are in a covenant with God – an agreement. Through all the ages people that know God all say the same thing: God is good and His goodness last forever. We have a loving God that only wants to do the best for us, but that also means that He loves us so much that He is willing, and able, to punish us to keep us from evil.
    When we find a similar theme used by Jesus and a prophet, it is always interesting to read the context in which the prophet spoke. The Jews knew their ‘Bible’ and when Jesus alluded to a verse they could fill in the ‘missing pieces’. Jer 30:8-9 concurs with Matt 11:29. Jesus is telling the people that He is the king alluded to in Jeremiah. In Luke 15:11-31 Jesus explains in detail God’s love for His lost son as in Jer 31:20.

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