It has been quiet around here. Sometimes that is what is needed to let your heart heal or your body rest. Sometimes quiet is the very way God breathes life into a tired soul. Often it is where we can hear Him the loudest.
There was a woman in the Bible who often sat in the quiet.
Mary…Mary of Mary and Martha and Lazarus.
Mary was a common name during this time, so it is easy to confuse her with the mother of Jesus. But this Mary was a close family friend.
Scripture tells us she lived in Bethany (John 11:1) with her brother and sister close by. Scripture often shows the three of them together. They spent time doing “life” together and were part of Jesus’ circle.
Mary had a few hi-lighting moments in Scripture. They are often well talked about and well known. But when we take a closer look at them there is an underlying theme that runs through them.
Take a peek with me in Luke 10:38-42.
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me. But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”
Now let’s look over at John 11:28-37.
When she (Martha) had said this, she went and called her sister Mary, saying in private, “The Teacher is here and is calling for you.” And when she heard it, she rose quickly and went to him. Now Jesus had not yet come into the village, but was still in the place where Martha had met him. When the Jews who were with her in the house, consoling her, saw Mary rise quickly and go out, they followed her, supposing that she was going to the tomb to weep there. Now when Mary came to where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet, saying to him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in his spirit and greatly troubled...
And finally in John 12:1-8.
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
In all three passages Mary has someone criticizing her. They are being critical of her responses, actions, and even her words. She was the lady that was talked about behind her back. She was the one that others were complaining about. She was the one that no matter what she did, there was probably an eye roll, snide remark, or glare.
But here is what struck me about this. Mary was not in the wrong. She wasn’t doing something disrespectful, irresponsible, illegal, or even stirring up trouble.
Her biggest fault in every instance was falling at Jesus feet and worshiping Him. She was guilty of taking time to hear His voice, follow His commands, and lean in. She was a woman who despite her cultural expectations and outside voices, allowed Jesus to completely immerse her. She knew deep down that this man was something special and she didn’t want to miss it.
Have we ever thought about this in our own approach to life? Where is a time that we had a choice to stop and consider and revel in Jesus, but maybe we were driven by an outside distraction or focus?
For me that often shows up in a “to do” list or my own human pride of believing I am the only one who can take care of a problem. It might be in taking care of my family, Pinteresting my home, or getting ahead at work. It might be shopping, visiting with a friend, or wasting time on social media.
While not bad, in and of themselves, I need to ask this,
“Am I intentionally choosing Jesus over everything else”?
Mary was willing to let all of that go. She let Jesus speak to her tender heart.
She developed an intimacy with Jesus unlike any other. Not only that, but in every instance we see Jesus standing up for her, shutting down the criticizers, and wrapping His warmth around her with His gracious love.
She found the truth the ancient psalmist penned in Psalms 9:10
“And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O Lord, have not forsaken those who seek you.”
So let the criticizers talk and the looks be fleeting. Let us put on a Mary heart despite what others say.
Jesus is worth EVERY minute!!