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 “mountaintop experience” 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 . . .
𝘓𝘢𝘻𝘢𝘳𝘶𝘴 𝘳𝘦𝘤𝘭𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘵𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘑𝘌𝘚𝘜𝘚. Though both were facing death threats from the religious leaders, they enjoyed unhurried time of fellowship over a meal.
𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘩𝘢 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘦𝘥. 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.
𝘔𝘢𝘳𝘺 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘴𝘩𝘪𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘥. 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 Father’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 Father’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 “open concept living,” blending Martha’s heart to serve in the kitchen with Mary’s delight in sitting at JESUS’ feet. Ideally, we can enjoy His presence and direction toward growth and joy in both areas. The book title is “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World,” by Joanna Weaver.]
A dinner was prepared in JESUS’ honor. Martha served. Lazarus sat at the table with Him. Mary anointed the feet of JESUS … and the house was filled with the fragrance. (John 12:2-3)
photo credit: Kyle Head on unsplash.com