an extraordinarily ordinary life

2021 blog series: exploring the stories of men and women in the New Testament

(#7): MARTHA and MARY

These two sisters speak to my heart.  Both of them.  I love how the LORD JESUS meets each of them right where they are, uniquely and personally, on more than one occasion.

Lingering over these passages today, a fresh thought settled over my mind.  A few weeks ago, we took a long pause to step into the traumatic reality these siblings walked through during the sickness and death of their brother Lazarus.  Then, they were transported to what some might consider a โ€œmountaintop experienceโ€ of witnessing the resurrection power of JESUS, a glimpse of His glory, as He called Lazarus from the grip of death and the darkness of a stinky tomb!

I can picture them floating in an awestruck afterglow for a long time!  If I am honest, if I were in their shoes, I could even imagine myself privately thinking I must be someone special for the LORD JESUS to have chosen my family in which to work such a miracle.  BUT, rather than walking around in some self-proclaimed celebrity status, or looking for some big new opportunity these events might provide, in John 12 we see all three of them back in their own home, faithfully filling their roles, as if nothing had changed . . .

๐˜“๐˜ข๐˜ป๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ถ๐˜ด ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ค๐˜ญ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข๐˜ต ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ต๐˜ข๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ฉ ๐˜‘๐˜Œ๐˜š๐˜œ๐˜š.  Though both were facing death threats from the religious leaders, they enjoyed unhurried time of fellowship over a meal.

๐˜”๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ข ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ๐˜ณ๐˜ท๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ. Although JESUS had brought clarity to her thinking and led her to appreciate 1:1 dialogue with Him, she was gifted (wired?) to extend generous hospitality.  She did what she did best.  For Him.

๐˜”๐˜ข๐˜ณ๐˜บ ๐˜ธ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ๐˜ฑ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฅ.  Near to the Savior, sitting as His feet, Mary understood what many around her may have failed to grasp.  JESUS was days away from giving His life, fulfilling the Fatherโ€™s eternal plan of redemption for us!  She prepared Him for what lay ahead.  She honored Him and the fragrance of her worship filled the house, changing the atmosphere in their home.

The whole scene seems rather ordinary and wondrously extraordinary all at the same time.  Uniquely created people, each playing their part to accomplish pieces to the same puzzle, some seemingly mundane, others extravagant, all working together to cultivate a space where our LORD JESUS felt welcomed and honored.

It struck me to think. . . at any moment, on any day, routine or once-in-a-lifetime, we can treasure it all as sacred. . . a time to rest confidently in the Fatherโ€™s plan, serve where He places us, and worship at His feet.  Each of those acts will be a beautiful thing in His eyes.

[Side note: I highly recommend a book that describes the beauty of โ€œopen concept living,โ€ blending Marthaโ€™s heart to serve in the kitchen with Maryโ€™s delight in sitting at JESUSโ€™ feet.ย  Ideally, we can enjoy His presence and direction toward growth and joy in both areas.ย  The book title is โ€œHaving a Mary Heart in a Martha World,โ€ by Joanna Weaver.]

A dinner was prepared in JESUSโ€™ honor.ย  Martha served.ย  Lazarus sat at the table with Him.ย  Mary anointed the feet of JESUS โ€ฆ and the house was filled with the fragrance. (John 12:2-3)

photo credit: Kyle Head on

Read more here:ย  Luke 10:38-42,ย John 11:19-27,ย John 12:1-8,ย Psalm 16:1-11,ย Psalm 27:4

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