In Luke 10 we meet Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus. Jesus was their friend and in their home teaching. Verse 39 says, “She (Martha) had a sister named Mary, who seated herself at the Lord’s feet and was continually listening to His teaching” (AMP). Mary seated herself at the Lord’s feet to learn. In those days, only disciples would sit at their rabbi’s feet to learn. Today, as His disciples, we still need to be sitting at His feet to learn from Him. We need to take time away from the distractions of serving and being busy about His work to be poured into. The more you pour out, the more you need to sit at His feet to learn.
In John 11, we run into these siblings again. Only this time, Lazarus has been dead four days. Martha ran outside the village to Jesus to confess, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. Even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give to You.” She went and got Mary. Verse 32 says, “When Mary came [to the place] 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.” They had the same confession, but different positions. Mary submitted to God’s will by falling at Jesus’ feet. We can speak in faith, and even believe in faith, but we must also submit at the feet of Jesus to His will.
Finally, we meet the family again in John 12. Jesus had returned to their house a week before He was to be crucified. Martha was serving and Lazarus was reclining with Jesus. Then in verse 3 it says, “Then Mary took a pound of very expensive perfume of pure nard, and she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” When we worship at the feet of Jesus, it releases a fragrance that fills Heaven. We must take time to honor Jesus with our expressions of worship at His feet. There’s a time to serve, a time to recline, a time to learn and a time to worship. In each instance, Mary was opposed by others for her act at His feet. It didn’t stop her. We can’t let others keep us from the feet of Jesus. It is a critical place all believers must take time to be at. It won’t just happen though. We must be intentional about being at His feet.
Steven Covey taught that many of us aren’t as productive as we could be because of how we spend our time and how we manage the tasks we face. He divided up tasks into four areas. There’s urgent and non urgent, and important and not important. One of the problems many of us face is that we live in the quadrant that is urgent and important. It sounds good on the surface, but the truth is that all we’re doing is putting out fires constantly. We’re doing a lot, but we’re going nowhere. We need to be spending our time focusing on the important, but not urgent quadrant. That one will help us plan for the future and prevent many of the fire drills we face.
In Luke 10, Jesus was visiting the house of Martha and Mary. Martha was in the quadrant of urgent and important. She was busy trying to clean, cook and serve. Mary was in the quadrant of important and not urgent. She sat at Jesus’ feet to listen and learn. Martha got upset at Mary, just like people who live in that quadrant do, and told Jesus to have her help. Jesus replied, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her” (NLT). Jesus understood how tiring it gets living that way being distracted and constantly worrying. Martha wasn’t stressed out or distracted. She was calm because she focused on the right things.
Psalm 37:5 says, “Give God the right to direct your life, and as you trust him along the way, you’ll find he pulled it off perfectly!” (TPT) God knows what is best for you. Cast your cares, your schedule and whatever else is distracting you on Him. Give Him to right to guide your life. He knows what’s best for you mentally, physically and spiritually. Refocus your heart on Him, spend time daily sitting at His feet listening. You’ll find your life will be the way He intended it. Commit all your ways to Him and trust Him in every area of your life. You’ll find peace and rest for your mind, body and soul. He knows what’s best for you and will lead you beside the still waters.
In Dr. Gary Chapman’s book “The Five Love Languages,” one of the languages is Receiving Gifts. Just like verbal languages, there are different dialects. In this particular one, a dialect is the Gift of Self. It’s where you put everything else that you need to do aside for a bit and simply give your spouse your time. You may have a ton to do with deadlines approaching, however, when you put that stuff aside and give yourself to your spouse, it speaks volumes. It tells them they are more important than anything else you have to do. It signals to them that they are your priority. The Gift of Self is a powerful expression of love especially when it doesn’t come natural for you.
In Luke 10, Jesus and his disciples were visiting a small village outside of Jerusalem called Bethany. They were met by a woman named Martha who invited them to her home. Martha immediately went to work to prepare a large dinner to fed all these people. The more she worked in the kitchen, the more she realized her sister wasn’t in there helping her. Mary was in the other room sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to everything He had to say. I’m sure Martha cleared her throat a few times to get Mary’s attention,. Maybe she even gave her some ugly looks. When those didn’t work, she told Jesus to tell Mary to come help her. In verses 41-42 Jesus replied, “Martha, my beloved Martha. Why are you upset and troubled, pulled away by all these many distractions? Mary has discovered the one thing most important by choosing to sit at my feet. She is undistracted, and I won’t take this privilege from her” (TPT).
It’s easy to get distracted by all the things we have to do. Sometimes those things are for the Lord Himself, but what’s more important is giving Him the Gift of Self. We must choose to set aside the things we have to do in order to sit at Jesus’ feet. We must make time with Him our priority. We lead very busy lives, but when you compare the things you have to do with eternity, sitting at the feet of Jesus is what will matter most. We all can get better at managing our schedules so that we’re in control of our time. We all can get better at being undistracted while we give ourselves and our time to the Lord. It starts with making our time with Him a priority, and then building the rest of our schedule around that. When we give Jesus the Gift of Self, He does the same back to us.
I would love to have met Mary, the sister of Lazarus. Over and over she surprises me in how she expressed her love of Jesus.. She had a way of serving Jesus that we all could benefit from following. There are three stories of her that really stand out to me when I think about her. In each of them, she shows what true love, devotion and faith look like. I know she doesn’t get a lot of credit in the Bible, but her story will be told forever because of how she served. Let’s take a look at the first example.
In Luke 10:38-42, Jesus entered the village she, her sister and brother loved in. Her sister Martha tended to be the first yo greet Jesus whenever he would arrive. She was a hard worker who tried to be very visible in her actions of serving Jesus. While she served, Mary just sat at the feet of Jesus hanging on every word. Martha got upset and asked Jesus to chastise her, but Jesus’ response blew her away. He said, “There is only one thing worth being concerned about and Mary has discovered it, and it won’t be taken away from her.” That one thing was spending more time listening to Him than being busy for Him.
Fast forward to John 11 and we meet up with the two sisters again. This time their brother Lazarus has died and they are upset because they sent for Jesus in time. Martha, being true to herself, was the first to run out and greet Jesus. She was always prepared for Him. But Mary stayed home. When Jesus asked for her, she ran to meet Him. She said the same thing Martha said to Him, but something was different about her response. Verse 33 says, “When Jesus saw her weeping… A deep anger welled up within Him, and He was deeply troubled.” Then it goes on to say that Jesus wept too.
Seeing her in pain caused Jesus to weep too. He identified with her emotions and broke down with her. He understands and empathizes with our feelings too and weeps when we do. He doesn’t let us face grief and troubled times alone. Our deep feelings stir Him up as well. Because He did that for her, she was willing to do the unthinkable for Him in the next chapter of John. She took a jar of perfume that cost a year’s salary, broke it open and poured it out on His feet. This time, it wasn’t just Martha who was upset at her actions, everyone was.
Jesus’ response was similar to what He said to Martha before. He said, “Leave her alone.” When we discover the one thing Jesus wants from us more than anything, it will cause us to do things others won’t understand. We have to remember He is the one we are serving not them. If Jesus calls you to sit at His feet while others are busy about His business, sit. If He calls you to give extravagantly, give with a cheerful heart. Jesus said the story of Mary would be told wherever the Gospel is preached because she did what others wouldn’t. In all three instances, her behavior is what stood out and moved Jesus because it came from her heart.