July 03, 2013

"Being" Versus "Doing"

John 12:1-3

Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair.
—John 12:3


In yesterday’s reading (Luke 10:38-42) Mary was sitting at Jesus’ feet, soaking up his every word. That’s often where she could be found. In John 11, for example, Mary fell at Jesus’ feet to express her grief over the death of her brother. And in today’s reading we see Mary again at the Lord’s feet.

At a dinner hosted in Jesus’ honor, Mary suddenly got down on the floor. In an act of worship and lavish devotion to Jesus, she began pouring expensive perfume on his feet. She then proceeded to wipe his feet dry with her hair. And as she did so, the smell of a beautiful fragrance filled the room.

Although Mary was often at Jesus’ feet, we shouldn’t assume she was never interested in working hard or serving others. It’s just that she seemed to understand that her “doing” needed to flow out of her “being.” If her work was going to be effective, she needed first to simply soak up time with Jesus.

You and I are not first and foremost human “doings”—we are human “beings”!

Mary seemed to understand that. And as a result, Jesus praised her for choosing what was truly needed (Luke 10:42).

Do we sit at Jesus’ feet?

Thank you, God, for showing us that Mary often chose to be at the feet of Jesus. Remind us that our value is to be found not in what we do, but simply in who we are in Christ, our Savior. Amen.

About the author — Shawn Brix

Rev. Shawn Brix has served as pastor in several Ontario churches. He and his wife, Jenny, have three children.

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