I had such a good time at the ladies' luncheon I was invited to yesterday! It was hosted by my friend, Susan, who is also a pastor's wife here in the Vancouver area. Their church is small like ours, and they're working hard in that section of Vancouver to build a church for the Lord. Susan is also the first pastor's wife I met here. When Wes and I came up in January, 2002, to explore Vancouver, Susan and her husband invited us to dinner at their house. It was an honour for me to bring a devotional to her ladies. I got to meet two older ladies, an aunt and the niece who cares for her. The niece gave told me such a sweet testimony of how her aunt has always been a part of her life, and it's a pleasure to be able to care for her in her later years. They were both sweet ladies! I also got to meet a new baby girl, born to a family in Susan's church who are their ministry helpers. Little Shirley is only about 3 weeks old, and what a sweetie she is! I got to hold her for just a minute, but she was hungry so her mama had to take her right back. I just wasn't who that little girl wanted at that moment!
The devotional I brought was about Mary of Bethany. Did you realize that almost every time this Mary is mentioned in the Bible, she is either sitting or kneeling at Jesus' feet?! She sat at his feet listening to him while her sister Martha was bustling around the house during Jesus' visit; she fell at his feet in grief when her brother Lazarus died; and she knelt at his feet to anoint them in worship. What lessons we can learn from her time at Jesus' feet!
Mary had a quiet spirit. We never see that she fretted about anything. A quiet spirit doesn't mean being mousy or backwards or a doormat for people to walk over; it means to have a peaceable spirit, not turbulent, contented. God made us with unique personalities, and those personalities are meant to bring glory to him. I believe that even a woman who has a hearty laugh or a talkative streak or is a bustler (like Martha!) can still have a quiet spirit when she is confident of the fact that God is in control of her life and she is trusting him in all things. Now, that's a little harder to do than it is to write about! LOL I'm slowly learning that, when times are hectic, if I'll turn my thoughts to the Lord and remind myself that he's in control of the situation, that my spirit will calm down. And I know that a quiet spirit is "in the sight of God of great price." I want to know that I'm pleasing him!
Mary had a singular focus: Jesus Christ. She listened to him in her sister's home. She quickly ran to meet him when he called for her, and fell at his feet (this is when Jesus wept - his heart was touched by her grief - how comforting is that!). She spent 300 pence on ointment, just to pour it out on his feet. According to one parable that Jesus told, a day's pay was one penny. If that was the common pay, then Mary spent almost a year's wages on that box of ointment! I can't help but wonder if I'd give away something that valuable for the Lord?
Finally, Jesus told Judas, when he protested Mary's pouring out of that expensive ointment upon Jesus' feet, that Mary had "done what she could." Wouldn't you love to hear Jesus say that about you when you get to Heaven? "Welcome, my daughter, you've done your best for me!" Woohooo! I sure want to hear that! Now, I've already messed up by not always doing my best for the Lord, but you know what? God said if we'd confess our sins, he'd be faithful to forgive and cleanse us. So when we realize we've not done our best, we can turn to him and confess it, determine to do our best, and move forward. How exciting that we don't have to let the past bog us down!
I'm going to do some more study on Mary, because I feel like I just scratched the surface (and this bit here is the highlights of the devotional yesterday; if I wrote the whole thing it wouldn't fit!). Maybe someday I'll do a series of short devotionals on Mary. She's not mentioned often, but she sure does have a lot to teach us by her example!