“Lord, just let me be near you.” Such was Mary’s heart cry. “Just to sit at your feet, and soak up every word.” She didn’t think of being seen or care to be noticed. Nor was she seeking a place of prominence. She simply wanted to sit at his feet, hang on his every word, and learn from the One dearest to her heart. Such is the heart that the Lord commends. Of such a one he says, “You have chosen the best part.”
He did not rebuke her.
He never sends a truly seeking heart away from his presence.
But let’s leave Mary and Martha and journey uphill with Christ and his disciples, toward Jericho.
“Can you imagine the nerve of those two?” they snorted in disgust.
“Yeah, just who do they think they are? They must think they’re better than the rest of us.”
And they looked askance at James and John, wanting the best places. Vying for a place at Christ’s side in the kingdom. “Let us BE someone,” they said. “We got our bids in first, so give us the positions of power and influence.”
But these Jesus did, in a sense, send from his side. “You don’t know what you’re asking,” he told them. And I wonder if he thought as he spoke, “Will they never learn?” For he had already told them when they’d argued over who was greatest, in the previous chapter, that they had all it wrong. The Kingdom way to greatness he said was to serve others. (Mark 10:35-45).
But their longing for greatness had made them hard of hearing.
And so he told them again. And this time, even more plainly. “Worldly rulers rule with authority. But that is not the way of my kingdom. To be great in my kingdom you must serve. Just as I came to serve and to give my life for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
But just like James and John, we forget quickly too.
And actually, we’re often worse than them. We have the complete Word of God at our disposal. Great churches to attend. Ever-ready teaching in books and online.
But they, the twelve, did not yet have the whole picture. The Lord had not yet given his life as a ransom for many. And he had not yet become the resurrected Lord. We have so much more than they. Yet just like them, we read and hear the Lord’s teaching, and just as quickly forget it.
Pay attention, Christ was saying. Remember, and do not forget. Choose the best part.
The Lord is saying that if we have ears to hear, let us remember that the Lord is still looking for hearts like Mary’s. Hearts that say, “Just let me sit at your feet, and soak up every word. I don’t want success. I don’t want to be someone. I’m not after a place of influence or power. I just want to be with you, Lord, and learn your ways.”