Monday, March 16, 2015

Mary's Extravagant Love - Mary Heart / Martha World [Week 10]


Something is wrong. And yet, somehow, Mary senses something so right. It goes against logic. She can see the Master's weariness. The men are clearly worried and befuddled. And yet Mary feels a tremor within, like a single strum upon a stringed instrument. Like hope...or is it joy? [pg. 156]

This is one of the best descriptions I have ever read of where circumstances meet the stirring of God.

Every cue from Mary's environment was laced with stress and intensity - except for Jesus. His steady eyes and secure hold on the Father struck something within her. It was a quiet stirring.

Mary seemed to understand, for only she seemed moved to take the appropriate action. [pg.157]

Could it be that she felt lead to act because she was truly listening and intent on knowing the heart of Jesus?

Jesus had been pouring and pouring and pouring Himself over those in his presence. He spoke about all of the events to come.......and still, all except one - missed it.

We today have the FULL STORY, the work has been done, the veil is torn and yet we still miss the heart and essence of the Lord.

By the time Jesus arrived on the scene, the Jewish people were desperate to hear, feel, receive any movement from the Lord. And as all His love was about to be poured out.....Heaven opening itself up to all who would believe - still Mary was the only one in tune.

Mary alone seemed to hear the echoes of that music. Only she seemed ready to respond to the extravagance of Jesus' love. [pg. 158]

The teachings I have received from the church have always isolated Mary's 'perfume story' as a lesson in giving generously - even from a small pocketbook.

Never, and I mean never until reading Joanna's book has it been pointed out to me that of all the people around Jesus during his final days - Mary of Bethany was the only one mentioned in the Bible who was moved to extravagant love merely by being in His presence.

Joanna also points to the story directly following Mary's giving at the banquet, Judas' betrayal.

One impending event (Jesus' death)...............two polar opposite reactions.
While the situation caused the evil dormant within Judas to rise to the surface, it was the same instance that brought something beautiful up from the depths of the maiden from Bethany. [pg. 163]
This quote from Joanna reminds me of one of my all time favorite quotes from Charles Spurgeon....

"The same sun which melts wax hardens clay. And the same Gospel which melts some persons to repentance hardens others in their sins" - Spurgeon 

Joanna writes about Judas' faith here...

Imagine spending three years of your life with the Messiah, yet walking away more or less the same - or even worse than when you started.  Judas did just that. [pg. 163-164]

Gulp!

Couldn't the same be true for those of us today who have lived out "Christian" lives claiming to know and love Jesus - yet after years and years we remain the same - immature and empty in our walk?

Joanna writes....

If we refuse to recognize the immensity of God's grace and its incredible cost on Jesus' part, sooner or later, we will take it for granted. [pg. 165]

God's word tells us...

For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 
Romans 1:21

Lord, please give me eyes to see and ears to hear!!!!!

I want a heart bent toward generosity, a heart that see its wrongs and falls at the feet of Jesus....

....a heart that swells, weeps, and rejoices in thankfulness for the loving sacrifice of Jesus.

The later portion of this chapter Joanna tells of a time her life when she was called to leap into love and surrender to a walk of complete faith.

Conducting this book study here on my blog has been one of those moments for me....

For more than two years I have held back in sharing my whole faith because I knew what some might think.

Finally, I have acted. Finally, I am writing.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.   
1 John 3:1



Let's talk about it.....

If you feel led, please comment below. We will focus on this chapter all week, so please jump in any day you find time. Also, please feel free to respond to others who have commented, let us encourage each other.

What spoke most to you from this chapter?

I look forward to hearing form you :)

- brook.

* All quotes mentioned above are noted by page number and are taken from 'Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World' by Joanna Weaver.

** Find out more about Joanna's ministry and how to purchase her books here.

4 comments :

  1. I love hearing the beauty of your heartstrings being played out Brook. Thanks for being so vulnerable. It's encouraging my faith.

    This chapter just caught me right in the throes of where I was stagnating. Even after the chapter on worry, I returned to entertain some fears and worries lately. God had convicted my heart to let them go but I kept wanting to reason with the thoughts rather than let them fly away on wings of faith. Then, as I'm reading, I'm realizing why I had felt stagnant and distant from God. I had taken back on areas I had previously surrendered. If I want that intimacy back, I have to surrender all to His Lordship. The section about 'Making Jesus your Lord' moved my heart. I did a check up and I was lacking. It is mind-altering freeing to trust in God and His plans. It's living our purpose! Daily I hope to give over the struggle to view faith through my own lens, sitting at the feet of Jesus with an open heart.

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  2. "Leave her alone," Jesus replied. "It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial," Jesus continued. "You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me."
    There are things in life that we don't understand but God has a plan for. These verses are such a significant story in the Bible and is often quoted in sermons about giving. Mary gave extravagantly and so should we. Now I agree with the pastors out there that believe you should give more monetarily and it is a shame that some are giving nothing back or 3%, because they don't trust God with their money. However, I think God was also speaking about the giving of oneself. What is more extravagant that giving of yourself? Brook sharing the Word on this site, everyone giving up sleep to go to church, having quiet time when we could be getting chores done, giving of ourselves by serving other, having patience with those around us, etc. The list goes on and on. Maybe money isn't your issue, maybe it is making time for the Lord, others, your family. What kind of love can we share? This chapter spoke to me the most because it reminds me that there may be things in my life that God has a purpose for, that I don't really know about yet. God used this story of Mary's perfume but if she would have saved it for the burial or dowry then it wouldn't even be mentioned. It had been stored but she listened to God's voice telling her to go ahead and use the perfume now on Jesus. God may have a purpose for something that we don't know how He is going to use. We are called to listen to God, not doubt, and use what he has given us. There are things in our lives that we may not understand, but that God can use for his purpose to tell a greater story, so instead of hoarding it up, we must use it.

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  3. "Daily I hope to give over the struggle to view faith through my own lens"


    You and me both, Jen. You and me both.
    Lord, please forgive me when I insist on walking in my own strength.

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  4. I struggle to surrender and love in the areas of my story I don't understand.
    thankfully His work in me is not finished.
    Thanks for sharing, Joney.

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