Mary (Lazarus' sister)
Mary’s story is told in Matthew 26:6–13; Mark 14:3–9; Luke 10:38–42; John 11:17–45; 12:1–11.
Combined worship with sacrifice
John 12:1 Six days before the Passover ceremonies began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. 2A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus sat at the table with him. 3 Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with fragrance.
Essence of nard was a fragrant ointment imported from the mountains of India. Thus, it was very expensive. The amount Mary used was worth a year’s wages. When Mary wanted to worship Jesus, she combined it with sacrifice.
Romans 12:1 also tells us that we are to present our body as a living sacrifice to God and this sacrifice IS our worship. Worshipping God is more than just singing songs and clapping hands; we can also worship God with our sacrifices. When we worship God, we are in fact telling Him how great and important He is to us. What better way to do that than to actually show it with our sacrifices.
Do you want to tell God how important He is to you? How about doing it through sacrifice? What can you sacrifice as part of your worship? Can you give a special offering to the church? Can you lay aside time in God's ministry?
Spending time with God more important than serving Him
When Jesus visited Mary and Martha's house, Mary simply sat at his feet and listened. When Martha became irritated at her sister’s lack of help, Jesus stated that Mary’s choice to enjoy his company was the most appropriate response at the time. The busyness of serving God can become a barrier to knowing him personally. But Jesus said Mary chose the more important part - that is spending time with Him.
Busy Christians can easily become susceptible to this mistake. So much time is spend serving God that relationship with God is affected. This state cannot proceed for long. After some time the Christian loses the passion for God and wonders why he is doing so much work. But if we put our relationship with God first, the passion of God will flow to us and we will desire to serve Him. While serving God at the expense of spending time with Him is wrong, the reverse is also true - spending time with God but not wanting to serve Him.
Do you have a balance in your life? Do you spend time with God daily no matter how busy you are, even if you are busy with God's work? Do not neglect spending time with Him. A different aspect of hospitality
For Mary, hospitality meant giving more attention to the guest himself than to the needs he might have. She would rather talk than cook. She was more interested in her guest’s words than in the cleanliness of her home or the timeliness of her meals.
In the Middle Eastern culture, hospitality is of utmost importance. But hospitality can be so superficial if we just make our guests comfortable. Mary's treatment of her guest Jesus can teach us something. When we have a guest in our house, are we preoccupied with keeping him comfortable? Can we do more? Can we really show our interest in that person and take hospitality to a different level?