May 18, 2021

Suggested Reading: Luke 10:38-42

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 teachings–Luke 10:38,39

When Jesus entered their home, nothing was more important to Mary than spending time with him and she was not satisfied just being in the same room with him, sharing the same space, breathing the same air, listening from a distance, she wanted to be close and so positioned herself at his feet while the others sat nearby aghast at her boldness and disregard for what was culturally correct. Even her own sister was miffed and exhorted Jesus to put Mary back in a (woman’s) place. I love Jesus’ response to Martha, and his answer surely addressed the concerns and secret thoughts of every male sitting in that room with them. He said, Martha you have many concerns, but Mary has chosen the better part. All the while Mary did not budge from her spot. She let Jesus fight her battle for her. she did not feel a need to defend herself or rise with disappointment. She had her eyes and heart fixed on Jesus and nothing or no one was going to pull her away from him.

What the others missed that day was there was no need to be jealous of Mary—for anyone that was harboring jealously! No need to hate on her for her audacity of faith—for anyone who was seething secretly. No need to try and remove her from her chosen spot, but there was a great need admire her, a great need to do likewise.

The apostle John was another one who loved to plant himself next to Jesus. He often spoke of himself as the disciple whom Jesus loved. I always wonder what his compadres thought of that when they read it in his letters. Miffed? Like when Mary sat at the Lord’s feet? Mumbling under their breath at the audacity of John’s statement? Maybe all the above. Sometimes we are a lot like the disciples and those who stayed at a distance, harboring secret thoughts as Martha and the others may have had. But there is enough of Jesus to go around. Just because one takes that seat closest to him does not mean there is not room for more, for all. That is the mystery of Christ he is locally and everywhere present.

Have you ever known people who made you feel like their best friend? That you occupied a special place in their heart and then discovered they were loved by many others just that way. It is a unique gift when people can make you feel as though you are that close to them and they have all of your love and affection. That reminds me of when I was growing up and wanted my grandmother all to myself and usually she was, but at times other grandchildren would come around at the same time I as visiting; I wasn’t sure how I felt about that. In her intuitive way she once told me “there’s enough of me to go around.” I can love you all. And she did.   

In his sermons my husband has often reminded us that we are each as close to Jesus as we want to be. Jesus does not stay at a distance from us and there is always an open spot right next to him. If we desire to be closer, we can be he will not push us away or stay at a distance; there is no need for us to suffer from separation anxiety. In fact, he longs for us to be that close to him. He loves intimacy with those he died for and will clear a path for us, reserve a spot next to him if we want. Saint James wrote, draw near to God and he will draw near to you (James 4:8)

One of the things I look forward to when I get to heaven is not just being in  heaven with Jesus; not just seeing him across the room; not just standing near him; not just looking into his face or touching his hand; not just sitting next to him; but sitting on his lap. I expect to be relatively old when I enter heaven’s gates, but I will have no shame in making my way to him and crawling upon his lap and laying my head on his chest.

After enduring a lifetime on earth apart from his physical presence, sensing his closeness yet not being able to touch or see him with our own eyes, we will not hesitate or be ashamed to be like Mary of Bethany and not only plant ourselves at his feet but crawl upon his lap for however long he allows. Our hurts will be healed so we will not be coming for healing; our wounds will be gone so we will not need heavenly salve, our painful memories will be faded so we will not need him to take those away, our questions will be answered so we will not need him to explain anything, our sin will be forgiven so we will not need him to forgive us, our sorrows, griefs, loneliness, anxiety, worries, fears, all gone, but in our wholeness and perfection we will want to sit with him and gaze into his eyes; seeing our miracle-worker and Savior up close and personal. In the meantime we can take our seat like Mary, and plant ourselves at his feet, immerse ourselves in his word and find rest and happiness for our soul. Let’s Pray,                 

Lord, spending time with you is really important to us. We want to be more like Mary, more like the woman at the well, more like John who loved reclining at table with you in a leisurely, unhurried setting; but our lives don’t seem to accommodate it! We’ve got too much to do and too little time to get it done. We  know if we can find the time to sit with you a while we will experience healing, we will be blessed with peace, we will have wisdom; for these and so much more are the blessings that come from time spent in your presence. Regardless of how full our calendars are, how cramped our time is help us to make time in our day to just pull up a chair and stay awhile. In your name we pray, Amen

Courageous Living: make a courageous move today and clear some space for time alone with Jesus. Envision yourself as Mary of Bethany and plant yourself at his feet. He will refresh your soul!              

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