This week, as we dig in to the story of Mary from Bethany, I want to do something a little different from our previous studies in this series.

There are two specific pieces of scripture that really highlight Mary’s life and the role she plays directly with Jesus that I want us to spend time on and learn from. These two interactions with The Lord are what earn her the title of the Fervent Worshiper.

As we discuss these pieces of scripture, I want you to be thinking about what makes Mary admirable. What makes her a worthy role model? What can we learn about her story, and apply to our very own lives?

In Luke chapter 10, Jesus has been teaching throughout Galilee and is returning to Jerusalem for a feast. Afterwards, Jesus goes to Bethany to visit his friends Mary and Martha.

Luke 10:38-42 (ESV)

Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her.”

In this passage, we see two sisters, both serving and honoring The Lord, but in two very different ways. While Martha is working on the home and preparing a nice place for Jesus, Mary has chosen to sit at His feet to listen and worship him. This upsets Martha, which is why she asks Jesus to tell Mary to help her with the chores. But the Lord simply tells Martha that her sister has chosen what is most pleasing to Him, which is to sit at his feet.

Note that Jesus isn’t upset with Martha for tending to her chores, but rather shows her that she needs to prioritize her tasks.

The second piece of scripture we are going to look at is in John chapter 12. What has happened up to this point, is Mary and Martha’s brother, Lazarus, has become sick and died. Jesus comes to Bethany and raises Lazarus from the dead. Afterwards, some of the Jews go and tell the Pharisees what has happened, and the plot to kill Jesus is put in to place.

It is now six days before Passover, and Jesus is reunited with Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. This brings us to the second admirable act of Mary that I would like to mention.

John 12:3 (ESV)

Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with fragrance of the perfume.

In this simple gesture, Mary is not only offering up a tangible treasure to The Lord, she is also using her most precious physical treasure, her hair.

In these two sentences we see a woman completely humbled before Jesus, quite literally giving her all to Christ. The amount of ointment that Mary uses to anoint the feet of Christ, is worth a year’s worth of wages. She then uses her hair, something that was deeply treasured, to clean his feet. Can you imagine how pleasing that must have been to Jesus? How happy he was to see Mary give her all to Him?

Now, I want you to think about the current season of life you are in. I want you to think on this last week, how you’ve spent your time, the things that have fought for your attention. Hold on to that, because now we are going to go through a few questions. And I want you to be honest with yourself – no one is going to see what you write, unless you absolutely want to share it. All I’m asking is that you are truthful with your responses, because that’s the only way we can change and grow.

1 // What are your current priorities in this season of life? List your top five in the order of which you organize them on a regular basis.

I’ll go first, my top five priorities in order on a regular basis look something like this: kids, house work, my husband, myself, Jesus.

I rarely make time for Jesus first. In fact, if it wasn’t for this study, I probably wouldn’t be in The Word much at all. My life is a chaotic mess, and I’m lucky if my hair gets washed twice a week. The thought of digging in to the Bible regularly, or simply seeking Jesus, sometimes seems more like a to do and less like a desire. But when I go over these simple pieces of scripture, I’m reminded of how fulfilling sitting at the feet of Jesus really can be. By putting Him first, my life has more balance, more clarity, and is all around more peaceful.

2 // Where are some places in your life that you could clear some space for Jesus?

I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of junk. I have physical junk cluttering just about every surface of my house. I have mental junk pulling my thoughts in multiple directions. And I have emotional junk (I have three kids ages four and under, so my emotions are everywhere).

When your life is filled with extra junk, there is zero space for The Lord to move. Everywhere is occupied. That’s when things get off kilter, and often become a mess. Instead of focusing on what is truly important (Jesus, your family, your personal health and happiness), we are consumed with trivial, temporary distractions and left completely unfulfilled. Which is why I have started a huge house purge.

It’s impossible for me to set aside a couple fo days and focus solely on clearing out the physical junk of our house, however, I have started working on small spaces at a time. Cleaning out anything that isn’t well loved or well used. Everything else has to go!

3 // What is the most precious thing you could give to Christ?

For me, the most precious thing I could give to Christ would without a doubt be my time. Time is the one thing you can’t make more of, therefore making it the most precious thing you could give to someone.

So what about Mary’s story stands out to you the most? What about her life speaks to your heart in your current season of life? How can she be a role model for you?

Join us on Facebook as we answer these questions and share our take aways from her story on Monday, December 11th at 9:00pm CST! I hope to see you there! xo

PS. Gentle Spirit, Fierce Faith: RuthGentle Spirit, Fierce Faith: Hannah, Gentle Spirit, Fierce Faith: The Shunammite Woman, Gentle Spirit, Fierce Faith: Esther

2 comments on “Gentle Spirit, Fierce Faith: Mary of Bethany”

  1. Love the three questions you point out. I am currently struggling with making Jesus the priority and it’s ironic (but not really because everything happens for a reason) that you mention clearing out junk to have space for Jesus. I find in my busy life that I get overwhelmed, exhausted, and simply worn down. I want peace! I want balance! But, it eludes me. I recently starting reading a book called Year to Clear and it talks about decluttering everything (your mind, your soul, your physical space, etc.). I think you hit the nail on the head about purging. I’m a little older and my kids are grown, but I still have clutter – in my mind and my house. It keeps me from keeping my priorities straight and focusing on what really matters.
    I’m looking forward to the webcast tonight! Thank you for your commitment – it really is making a difference in people’s lives!

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