by Molly Audiss
Mark 14:3-9 “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.”
The world of Christian women is filled with Marthas and Marys. Sisters in Christ; opposite personalities. How many messages have we heard about these two women? Often, one is praised and the other is rebuked. Today I say YAY to both of them! Both of them, though so very different, were loved by Jesus.
Mary is the women who anointed Jesus’ feet with expensive ointment in the Bible passage above. Scholars have said that it may have cost 300 days’ wages to purchase this perfume! Jesus understood why she did it, and He was pleased with her sacrifice. In fact, He promised that her deed would be remembered forever! Mary is also the sister that sat at Jesus’ feet, listening to His teaching as her sister Martha was busy in the kitchen, preparing a meal for the Lord and her other guests. Martha, in her annoyance, tried to shame Mary in front of others. Christ, loving and compassionate, always took the side of the person who was being attacked. He gently put Martha in her place and saved Mary from embarrassment. I believe he would have done the same for Martha, if she had been the victim.
Martha was so different from Mary, yet she was just as loved by Jesus. She was a leader. She was strong and able to handle more emotionally than her gentle, probably more reserved sister. She was diligent and faithful. And she was a women of great faith! A couple days after her brother Lazarus died and had been buried, she heard that Jesus was coming. Immediately she left the house to meet him. (So Martha!) She went to Him with plenty of opinions and plenty of questions! But her strong personality was never “too much” for the Lord. He accepted her for who she was, with all her strengths and weaknesses. I admire her for running to Christ in her lowest hour, even if she did not speak to Him with as much reverance as the culture demanded, she was transparent and honest with Jesus. In other words, she prayed with passion and vulnerability. Christ did not rebuke her. He answered her questions, then did the impossible and brought her brother back to life!
Where was Mary when Jesus was coming? She was sitting at home, paralyzed with grief. She may not have been emotionally strong enough to talk to anyone, even to pray to Jesus at the time. You see how different personalities handle trials? Some melt in sadness and pull the covers over their head for days. Some “come out swinging,” charging into their prayer life with all the angry questions for the Lord. We are all made differently.
Here is the beauty of it all. WE ARE ALL LOVED BY THE LORD, JUST EXACTLY AS WE ARE! I can’t love this more! He knows all our strengths, all our weaknesses, all our victories, all our failures, and it never changes how He feels about us! AMEN!
There are so many “boxes” we are supposed to fit into to belong in society, even sometimes in church! Or, at least, it can feel that way to us. The shy ones always feel like they are invisible and useless. The loud, leader ladies always feel that they are “too much” and they have to pull back the reigns on their personality or they aren’t being the “right kind” of Christian women.
Guess what? God made you with your personality. He loves your personality! He did not make you who you are so that you could spend a lifetime feeling wrong and inadequate! If you feel that way, it is not from God. He smiles when He sees the unique person you are. He loves you just that way.
Of course we must work on our weaknesses, deal with our sinful natures. God is there for us, gently helping us to be more like Him through His Spirit and His Word. But He does not want us to try to clone some other person who seems “better” to us. No! He made Marys AND Marthas, and God wants us to stay with our own personality.
We need each other. Mary and Martha brought gifts to their family that the other person needed. God put them together to complement each other. We can do so much more for God if we know who we are and we use our own talents, abilities, and personalities for Him. People you meet in your day, in your life, they need who God made you to be. A different person could not reach them or understand them or help them the way YOU can. It is all in God’s perfect plan. It’s a beautiful way to live, knowing that you are meant to be YOU. Accepting that. Growing in the Lord. Influencing people in your own, unique way. Martha, Mary-you are exactly who God loves and what He wants. Go find others to help today!