The story is a familiar one to many. Jesus, the much-cherished friend of Mary, her sister Martha, and their brother Lazarus, was presumably the guest of honor at this family gathering. Before the big meal, the men were likely apart by themselves, visiting, while the women took care of the preparations. The exception was Mary, who was kneeling before the Master, reverently engaging with his every word (see Luke 10:38–42).
For years I saw the moral of this story in rather one-dimensional terms. Mary chose to be still, at the Master’s feet, listening, learning. She put God first, and her single-minded desire to receive Jesus’ teachings and understand God better elicited the Master’s blessing.
This is certainly an accurate takeaway from the story, I think. But it can be instructive, as well, to consider what Jesus was likely disclosing to Mary as she knelt before him—what he must have been conveying to her of the truth, which she found so compelling that she gave herself fully to it in those moments. For me, this has brought the story alive in fresh ways and helped me see its implications for prayer, particularly prayer for ourselves.
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