As Jesus and His disciples were traveling they stopped in Bethany. Bethany was the home of Lazarus, Martha, and Mary. One day Martha invited Jesus and His disciples to eat and rest at their house.
Luke 10:38 NKJV
“Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house.”
Martha began to prepare the meal. She was very busy cooking and making sure that Jesus and His disciples had everything she thought they needed. Martha was working very hard. While Martha was busy working, Jesus and His disciples were sitting in another room talking. Martha felt that she needed help with the work, so she looked for her sister, Mary. She found Mary sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to His every word.
Luke 10:39 NKJV
“And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.”
Mary was “soaking up” the presence of the Lord. Mary’s spirit recognized who Jesus was, and her spirit longed to be in His presence. Mary understood Jesus’ passion for her and for all people. She too, had a passion for Him- a passion just to sit in His presence. Mary was hungry for God!
When you have a passion for someone, you have a very strong feeling for them. You have a strong love and desire for that person. God desires to be the object of our love, our desires, our passion. He is looking for people with a passion, not people who are “perfect” in works. God longs for you to be passionate for Him. For who He is, not for what He can do for you or for what you can do for Him.
Luke 10:40 NKJV
“… Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me.”
Martha asked Jesus didn’t He care that Mary was not helping her work. Jesus responded to Martha’s complaining by telling her that only one thing is important and Mary had chosen it. Jesus also told Martha that He would not take the most important thing (worship) away from Mary.
Luke 10:41-42 NKJV
“And Jesus answered and said to her, ‘Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her.”
Works must come out of love and intimacy, not duty. What you do out of duty will not be remembered forever. Choosing to worship God will be remembered forever. If you understand the amount of God’s love, you will better love Him and out of that love service will come. Loving God is not the same as working for Him. You must not get so involved with “work” (serving others) that you forget the reason you were created – to have a relationship with God, the very creator of the entire universe! You must chose to live a life of intimacy. Works without intimacy will “burn” you out. You must work with God, not for God.
During the last week of Jesus’ life, He and His disciples went through Bethany where a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Lazarus was sitting with Jesus. At some point during the dinner Mary came in with a large jar of perfume. She kneeled down at the feet of Jesus and anointed His feet with the perfume. Then she wiped His feet with her hair. Mary knew who Jesus was. She longed to worship Him and be in His presence. Mary did not care what the people at the dinner thought. She did not care what her sister or her brother thought. She was desperate for Jesus’ presence. Mary did not care what it cost her (the perfume was worth a lot of money.) She did not let pride get in the way. Nothing mattered but worshiping her Lord. Mary truly surrendered everything to Jesus, out of her love for Him.
Judas was upset because he thought Mary had wasted the perfume. Judas, although he was with Jesus all the time, did not really know Jesus. Judas did not see Jesus for who He was: the King of kings and the Lord of Lords, our Savior, our Lover and our best friend!
Like Mary we must get rid of our pride and forget about what people will say about us. If you want to be in the presence of Jesus you must put a relationship with Him above all else. Just as the perfume (that Mary anointed Jesus with) was, so is our worship to God. True worship is a sweet smelling incense (sacrifice) to God. God loves us and He enjoys our company. God delights in us. Our worship draws us closer to each other. If you worship God with all your heart You Will Get God’s Attention! God’s presence is what it’s all about!