Mary or Martha

 
In a book by Tara Cobble, “Here’s to Hindsight: Letters to My Former Self“, she says, “the higher we go, the farther we are from His feet.”
 
When we first began our walk with our Savior, we were all like Mary.  Hanging on His every Word, clinging to His feet like a child hanging onto daddy’s feet as he tries to go out the door to work. 
 
In John 12:1-8 we can read about that day in Mary’s life, “Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany where Lazarus was, the one Jesus had raised from the dead.  So they gave a dinner for Him there; Martha was serving them, and Lazarus was one of those reclining at the table with Him.  Then Mary took a pound of fragrant oil—pure and expensive nard—anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped His feet with her hair.  So the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.  Then one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot (who was about to betray Him), said,  “Why wasn’t this fragrant oil sold for 300 denarii and given to the poor?”   He didn’t say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief.  He was in charge of the money-bag and would steal part of what was put in it.  Jesus answered, “Leave her alone; she has kept it for the day of My burial.  For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.
 
I think that the first time I read those verses, I was shocked.  I thought that behavior like that in women of those times would have been considered very radical, if not totally unseemly.  For a woman to touch a man who was not her husband and then wipe his feet with her hair could have put her at risk of being given a very bad label and perhaps punishment.  But her display was taken by Jesus as a sign of true love and devotion and He defended her.  Leave her alone He said.  He knew the motive behind her actions and He knew the motive behind Judas Iscariot’s words. 
 
And when He said, she has kept it for the day of My burial He was saying, that she had anointed a body that was as good as dead.  And His grace had opened Mary’s heart in a way to accept in advance the sorrow of His death.  Her action was not just to make Jesus smell good or comfort His tired feet, it was a statement of her foresight.  It was as if she had been given a glimpse into a moment of time that was yet to come.
 
For Mary, that perfume was not only a symbol of her value for Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, but also in preparation for his burial. She knew he was going to die. He would die for our sins. She invested in Christ for “our” future. For all generations to come.
 
We know now what that moment required of Him and what it accomplished for us.  Do you think it possible that she knew too?
 
It is at His feet that we learn how to submit to Him, understand more fully what He wants from us, gain the wisdom and understanding to be bold for Him, and receive the spiritual strength to succeed in His Name. 
 
Every day that we live should move us closer to His feet.  We may have things to do for others just as Martha did, but in our hearts we must strive to like Mary.
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