Be grateful. Be grateful. BE GRATEFUL. If your parents are anything like mine – this has been drummed into you since you were a small child. Be grateful for the THINGS you have been GIVEN. But what my parents meant was, be grateful to the Giver. When I was thinking about gratefulness from a heavenly perspective – everything shifted. Am I grateful enough? OR am I a sulky teenager living my Christianity with a: “you’re my parent – you owe it to me” mentality? I’m going to walk you through the life of Mary (sister of Martha) and then we’ll relook at our response to our given gifts.

The story of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-42) goes a little something like this: Jesus is staying in the home of Martha and teaching his followers, of which we can assume there are many. It’s a big party of people staying in her home, as a hostess the stress of ‘entertaining’ gets to Martha and she complains to Jesus. You see, Martha is running around organising all the things to make sure people have food and drinks and the twenty million other things required to HOST the teacher! She is the one getting things done! Martha serves. Mary (her sister and culturally the person who should help her) is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to his teachings. When Martha speaks to Jesus, she asks him to tell her sister that it is her duty to help her, Jesus says no. Mary has found a valuable thing “Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

When we speak of gratefulness I want you to see that Mary has had a revelation of who Jesus is and WANTS to be near him. Jesus says that she has CHOSEN BETTER! When we become Christians and choose Jesus for ourselves – we have chosen better! Ok…so let’s jump to the book of John – here we see Mary and Martha again.

John 11 The death of Lazarus. Turns out that Mary and Martha are the sisters of Lazarus (I did not know that!) Lazarus gets really sick, Jesus is travelling and decides to stay for two extra days after hearing that his FRIEND Lazarus is sick. Jesus Knows how it will end. Mary does not. Fast forward and Lazarus has died. The family is being comforted by many people who’ve come through to pay respects to their brother.

John 11:20 “When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary STAYED AT HOME.”

Gosh I can relate to Mary so much in this moment, she doesn’t even go out to meet him. Her heart is broken. She has sat at Jesus’s feet, she has seen him heal the sick, she has CHOSEN him and – He has let her down. Her brother would still be alive if Jesus had just come back earlier. Martha has a conversation with Jesus and then in Verse 28

“After she (Martha) had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him.”

Even in our grief – when we hear the voice of Jesus asking for us, we get up quickly and go to him. There are so many nuisances to this story that I’m not going to get into – my focus is Mary, her revelation, her pain and then her response in gratefulness.

Long story short – her brother (who has been dead for four days) is raised back to life. Mary witness’s the resurrection power of Jesus. The LIFE giving nature of God. It’s a pretty unbelievable story! We assume they live happily ever after. BUT WAIT THERE’S MORE! Read with me in John 12:

“Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

Here are a couple of stand out points from this piece of scripture, when you see Jesus’s resurrection power in your life your response will be one of the following:

  • You’ll want to Honour Jesus! His friends give a dinner in honour of Jesus.
  • Martha serves. Her response is to do the things she has always done to show how much she cares.
  • Lazarus wants to BE with Jesus – he reclines at the table with him.
  • BUT MARY! Her response is one of absolute overboard gratefulness.

She is the person who gets to anoint Jesus for his burial. Her response to seeing the resurrection power of Jesus is to pour out the most precious thing she owns – a year’s savings upon the feet of her King. Instead of wiping it off with a towel – she uses her hair. I’m not sure if you’ve thought about how close your face needs to be to a person’s feet in order to wipe off a bottle’s worth of oil with your hair. How you would need to kneel before him. How intimate a moment it must have been. You are in LOVE with that person. You are willing to rest your pretty face against his dirty feet because He has come through for you. She goes from a place of disappointment and disillusionment to a place of grateful adoration. She has seen what Jesus can do and she loves Him for it!

She is grateful for the THINGS she has been GIVEN, but more importantly she is Grateful to the Giver.

By Sian Brown