Learning to Love


from Precious Seed

There is no more beautiful character in the whole of Scripture than
Mary of Bethany. Her simplicity has great charm, her sincerity is beyond question, her
silence is most eloquent. Luke’s portrait shows her sitting at the feet of Jesus,
listening to His word. John reveals her to us pouring out her box of costly ointment at
the Saviour’s feet. In both cases a commendation from Jesus is given. He made sure
that we should know that both attitude and action were worthy of Him. Others may
criticize, but the Master commends.

Mary listened to His word. What she heard profoundly affected
her life. In listening she learned to love. Let us consider more
closely these two virtues, listening and loving.

"Mary sat at Jesus’ feet and heard his word," Luke
10:39. While Martha was bustling around, "cumbered about much serving," Mary has
chosen a better part, that one thing needful that stirred her heart and enriched her life.
Let us not be hard on Martha. Such motivations to serve are too rare today for us to
criticize her. In both instances she was active for Him, wanting to share her home. But
Mary’s priorities were different. Her open ear unlocked for her treasures of His
love, which inspired her devotion to respond. In listening we learn. It is a
slow process, but vitally necessary. It is a humbling process, for by it we tap the
resources of His fullness. And above all, in His desire for our well-being, it is that
good part that shall not be taken away, v.42.

"Then took Mary a pound of ointment…very costly, and anointed
the feet of Jesus," John 12:3.

This is most significant. Let us consider the setting of it. They made
Him a supper; Martha served; Lazarus sat at the table; but quietly and unobtrusively, Mary
performed her act of love. Just a few words sum up the positions of Martha and
Lazarus, although he had been raised from the grave. But Mary’s action brings the
whole scene alive. "Then took Mary…." The ointment was very costly. The
container was broken, the contents poured out at His feet. The Savior was anointed and the
whole house filled with the fragrance of the deed. Can we not say that only one who had learned
the worth of Jesus, could show such love and devotion? It was symbolic of the
ourpouring of her very heart. "Waste," some said; our Lord’s
reaction proved that this was worship to Him, under the very shadow of the cross.
The lessons are not hard to learn. We must spend time listening, learning, before
our response of love will flow out spontaneously and acceptably to our Lord.

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The church has no greater need today than to fall in love with Jesus all
over again.

Vance Havner