At Christ’s feet is the place of discipleship, where one’s soul receives the blessings He has to give. It is the place, too, of shelter and comfort, to which one should flee in danger and sorrow. Then it is the place of devotion, of consecration, of service. We will study in order each of these three scenes in which Mary appears.
We see her first as a learner. Jesus has come into the Bethany home. Martha is busy entertaining Him in her capacity of hostess. But Mary drops all her tasks and sits down at His feet to listen to His words. Longfellow represents Mary saying to Jesus—
“O Master, when Thou comest it is always
A Sabbath in the house. I cannot work:
I must sit at Thy feet, must see thee, hear Thee.
I have a feeble, wayward, doubting heart,
Incapable of endurance or great thoughts,
Striving for something that it cannot reach,
Baffled and disappointed, wounded, hungry;
And only when I hear Thee am I happy,
And only when I see Thee am at peace.
Only to be with Thee, only to see Thee,
Sufficeth me. My heart is then at rest.”
Every young woman should learn the lesson that there can be for her no beautiful Christian character, no sweet influence pouring out from her life, no blessed ministry giving comfort and joy to others, unless she first sits at Christ’s feet as a learner. She must receive before she can give. This is the vital principle in Christian life. We can give out to others only what God has given to us.
You see a beautiful rose, bathed in the summer sunshine and pouring forth its sweetness. “I would have my life like the rose,’ you say. Yes; but where did the rose get its loveliness and its fragrance? Down out of the sky, did it not? It looked up and opened its heart, and the sun poured his warm beams into the flower’s bosom, and out of the air at night came the gentle dew and crept into the flower’s folds, and the beauty burst out and the sweetness flowed forth.
Would you have your life like the rose? You must commune with Christ. You must open your heart to the warmth of His love. You must take His words into your soul. You must let Him fill you with His own blessed life. All you can bring to Christ is your own emptiness—the emptiness of penitence, of humility, of a thirsty soul.
The poet speaks of Mary’s eyes as “homes of silent prayer.” Her eyes of prayer told of a great heart-hunger. She did not talk in Christ’s presence. She had nothing to say. She wanted Him to speak to her. And any word He spoke went deep down into her heart and became a blessing there, pouring its sweet influence through all her life.
Here we get the first lesson from Mary. You must sit at Christ’s feet as a learner, as a receiver. Let Him teach you. Let Him pour His own life and love into your heart. The first thing is, not what you shall do for Christ, but what you shall let Christ do for you; not what you shall give to Him, but what you shall receive from Him. Keep all the windows of your soul open towards Him, that the light from His face may shine into the very depths of your being. Take His words into your heart and ponder them with love and prayer, until they open out and fill you with their own life and spirit.
Says Professor Drummond: “Ten minutes spent in Christ’s society every day, aye two minutes, if it is face to face and heart to heart, will make all things different. Through-out the whole day, your actions, down to the last detail, will do homage to that early vision.”
Taken from “MARY OF BETHANY”
by J.R. Miller
Originally Published by The Sunday School Union, London
Acknowledgement: Christian Reading Room