I have spent a lot of time thinking about Mary. Not Mary the mother of Jesus or Mary Magdalene, but Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. I think she has a very small role in the ministry of Jesus, but her story and life are full of hidden gems.
Nothing about Mary’s physical attributes are ever mentioned. It is her heart that shines in the Scripture.
Mary is first mentioned in Luke 10. The Scripture tells us that Jesus and his disciples stopped in a village where she lived with her sister, Martha, and her brother, Lazarus. Jesus was a distinguished teacher and a very important guest to have in their home. Martha immediately took it upon herself to make preparations and treat their visitors with honor. She put her hands to work to make a meal for the disciples.
Mary, however, neglected the responsibilities of a hostess in this time period and placed herself right at the foot of Jesus to listen to his teachings. She abandoned her sister to perform the required services of hosting guests and sat in the presence of men without being invited.
Mary broke every rule in this society, and Jesus responded with a shocking revelation: Mary was not to be shamed, but celebrated.
Mary had forsaken customs to sit at the feet of Jesus and listen to what he taught. She realized that nothing in the entire world mattered more than the teachings and words of Jesus. Over two thousand years later, Mary is still correct.
In John 12, the apostle John records that Mary took out a pint of pure nard and poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped them with her hair. She completely humbled herself to anoint the Son of Man and treat him with complete praise and honor. Judas Iscariot complained about the wasted money, and Jesus rebuked him. Mary’s sacrifice was worth a year of her savings. She was willing to sacrifice everything to pour out her love and devotion to the King.
Here are five things that we can learn from Mary:
- Be a listener. Sit in complete focus and listen to the words of Jesus.
- Don’t be afraid to counteract culture. Sometimes we must ignore the traditions of our society to be obedient.
- Don’t be distracted. Martha was not doing anything wrong. She was caring for her guests, but she was distracted from listening to the very person she was trying to serve. How often do we excitedly throw ourselves into service on behalf of the gospel and then allow ourselves to become distracted and deadened to the voice of the Lord? It was not the fact that Martha was working busily in the kitchen that brought her a gentle rebuke from Jesus. It was the fact that she was concerned with many things other than Him.
- Sacrifice others’ perception. What are you prepared to do to show Jesus that you love him? Would you humble yourself enough to wash his feet with your hands and hair?
- Keep open hands. Mary gave up a year of her savings in an instant to pour out perfume on her Lord’s feet. What are you willing and able to give to Him as an offering of love?
Mary is only mentioned a few times in the Bible, but she beautifully models abundant faith, humility, and devotion to Jesus.
How can you have a “Mary” mentality this week?