At the Feet of Jesus: Daily Devotions to Nurture a Mary Heart
by Joanna Weaver
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. PSALM 90:12
I’ve always dreamed of being much more than I am. More organized, more disciplined, more loving…much more “much more,” if you know what I mean! Each January I set out on a new self-improvement program.
This year I’ll get in shape.
This year I’ll keep my house clean.
This year I’ll send out birthday cards. On time.
This year—really—I’ll be the loving, forgiving, obedient woman of God I long to be instead of the willful, stubborn, disobedient Christian I sometimes see staring back at me in the mirror.
All noble goals. Truth be told, I am much more at peace when my house is clean. And I believe that if you really love people, you ought to care enough to send the very best—or at least one of those ninety-nine-cent cards from Wal-Mart! And I know that genuine happiness only comes from living close to God and obeying Him.
I really do want to be different. I want to be changed.
As the saying goes, “There’s a skinny woman inside me just struggling to get out.” Unfortunately—as the saying continues—“I can usually sedate her with four or five cupcakes.”
Maybe you’ve discovered, as I have, that most New Year’s resolutions have little effect on day-to-day life except to add a burden of guilt and a feeling of failure. Continually striving, yet never arriving.
I’m so glad we have a Savior who loves us just as we are, but loves us too much to leave us that way. Jesus will do whatever it takes to return to us the glory of God that we were meant to reflect in the world. So that, through our lives, people might see who God really is.
—Having a Mary Spirit
READ: Hebrews 4:14–16
REFLECT: What does it mean to know that you have a high priest who understands your weakness?
May [God] give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. EPHESIANS 1:17
Perhaps no passage of Scripture better describes the conflict we feel as women than the one we find in the gospel of Luke. Just mention the names Mary and Martha around a group of Christian women and you’ll get knowing looks and nervous giggles. We’ve all felt the struggle. We want to worship like Mary, but the Martha inside keeps bossing us around.
Here’s a refresher course in case you’ve forgotten the story. It’s the tale of two sisters. It’s the tale of you and me.
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where
a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister
called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But
Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She
came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me
to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset
about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what
is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38–42)
Instead of applauding Martha, Jesus gently rebukes her, telling her Mary has chosen “what is better.” Or, as another translation puts it, “Mary has chosen the better part” (nrsv).
“The better part?” Martha must have echoed incredulously.
“The better part!” I say to God in the midst of my own whirl of activity. “You mean there’s more? I have to do more?”
No, no, comes the answer to my tired heart. Jesus’s words in Luke 10 are incredibly freeing to those of us on the performance treadmill of life.
It isn’t “more” He requires of us.
In fact, it may be less.
—Having a Mary Heart
READ: Matthew 23:1–4
REFLECT: What do you struggle with most—expectations put on you by
others or those you put on yourself?
If only I knew where to find him… JOB 23:3
I’ll never forget crying in the darkness one night many years ago. My husbandwas an associate pastor at a large church, and our lives were extremely busy. The size of the church meant there were always people in need. I would go to bed at night worried about all the things I didn’t accomplish and should have, about all the things I’d accomplished but not very well.
I remember clinging to my husband that night as he tried to comfort me. “What’s wrong, honey?” he asked, caressing my hair. But I couldn’t explain. I was completely overwhelmed.
The only thing that came out between sobs was a broken plea. “Tell me the good news,” I begged him. “I honestly can’t remember… Tell me the good news.”
Perhaps you have felt the same way. You’ve known the Lord your whole life, and yet you haven’t found the peace and fulfillment you’ve always longed for. So you’ve stepped up the pace, hoping that in offering more service, somehow you will merit more love.
Or perhaps you’ve withdrawn from service. You’ve gone the route I’ve described above and, frankly, you’ve had it. You’ve stopped volunteering, stopped saying yes. You’re out of the loop and glad for it. And yet the peace and quiet holds no peace and quiet. The stillness hasn’t led to the closer walk with God you’d hoped for, just a sense of resentment. You go to church; you go through the motions of worship, then leave and go home the same. And at night, sometimes you wonder, “What is the good news? Can someone tell me? I can’t remember.”
If you’re struggling to remember what makes the gospel so priceless, so precious, bring your questions to Jesus. You have a Savior who stands ready to share the good news of hope for your weary heart.
—Having a Mary Heart
READ: Matthew 11:28
REFLECT: How would your life be different if you took Jesus up on His offer