“Six days before the Passover Jesus came to Bethany, the home of Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. There they gave a dinner for Him. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”
Usually when commenting on these verses one would talk about the selfless act of Mary. But what I have imagined is the change in Martha. At another dinner some time ago, Martha complained to Jesus that Mary wasn’t helping her with the guests. Jesus told Martha that “Mary has chosen the better part.” Was Martha hurt by those words, or did she learn something valuable from them? Did Martha ponder those words as she went about her daily tasks?
I think Martha learned something, perhaps something that changed her life from that earlier encounter. Martha took care of her guests; she prepared the food and served the guests, as she had always done. But this particular Guest, Martha served with even more love. Not only had Jesus raised Martha’s brother from death, but Jesus had opened Martha’s heart even wider to His love. Now Martha serves her guests with peace in her heart. And when Martha approaches Jesus with her gifts, He looks on her with love – and she notices His look and takes the time to reflect on the love He has shared with her. In Jesus’ eyes is love and thankfulness for Martha’s service. That look of love fills Martha’s heart with joy. Whether Martha does all the work or not, she no longer worries about what Mary is doing, that Mary is not helping. Martha focuses on the gift the Lord has given to her and is at peace. Finally, at peace.
The Lord is grateful for our service, no matter how small our gift, for our love and service is the most important thing to Him – and He sees only us when we serve Him.