Do You Have A Mary Heart?

Luke 10:38-42

(All Scripture is from the New King James Version unless otherwise indicated)

Three times this phrase is found in the book of Proverbs, and once in Ecclesiastes: “…a merry heart….

  • Proverbs 15:13 – “A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
  • Proverbs 15:15 – “All the days of the afflicted are evil, but he who is of a merry heart has a continual feast.
  • Proverbs 17:22 – “A merry heart does good like medicine, but a broken spirit dries the bones.
  • Ecclesiastes 9:7 – “Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your works.

In each case, “…a merry heart…” refers to a mindset defined by what is called in Galatians 5:22 and 23 as the fruit of the Spirit: “…the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” (International Standard Version).

But for this Gem, I am engaging in a play on words! Instead of a merry heart, let’s explore what it is like to Have A Mary Heart! The featured Scripture is Luke 10:38 through 42:

     Now it happened as they went that He entered a certain village; 
     and a certain woman named Martha welcomed Him into her house. 
     And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus' feet 
     and heard His word. But Martha was distracted with much serving, 
     and she approached Him and said, “Lord, do You not care that my 
     sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help 
     me.” And Jesus answered and said to her, “Martha, Martha, you 
     are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is 
     needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be 
     taken away from her.”

There were three in this wealthy family living in Bethany, a town two miles southeast of the city of Jerusalem. These three were siblings – Lazarus, Martha, and Mary.

  • The Lord had a close relationship to these three.
     John 11:5 – “Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and 
         Lazarus.John 11:11 – Speaking to His disciples, Jesus referred 
         to Lazarus as “...our friend....John 11:36 – When Jesus wept at the grave of Lazarus, 
         “...the Jews said, ‘See how He loved him.
  • Jesus and His disciples often visited this family.
     ✞   Three times in the gospels it mentions the Lord and 
         His disciples were guests at the house of Lazarus and 
         his sisters.

     Because Jesus was close to these three siblings, it 
         is probable that there were more visits than the three 
         mentioned, perhaps many more!
  • They were an upper-classfamily!
     Luke 10:38 – They had a large enough dwelling to accom-
         modate the Lord and His entourage for extended stays. 

     John 12:1 through 3 – They were wealthy enough to gra-
         ciously feed and entertain all thirteen of them (Jesus 
         and His twelve disciples).  

     John 12:3 through 5 – A ‘snapshot’ of their wealth is 
         when Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with a jar of pure nard 
         worth three hundred denarii! (A denarius was one day’s 
         pay for the common laborer. So three hundred denarii 
         would be a full year’s pay!).   

The personality of the three siblings:

  • Lazarus – was the one Jesus raised from the dead! (read the account of this amazing miracle in John chapter 11).
     In the male-dominated Jewish society of the time, Lazar-
         us might have been the one who made the family decisions, 
         and the (successful) financial moves. I say, “...might 
         have been...” because Martha seems to be portrayed as the 
         dominate personality of the three!

     He, being called “...our friend...” by Jesus (see John 
         11:11), meant Lazarus would be seated close to the Lord 
         (implied in John 12:2 where it says he of 
         those who sat at the table with...Jesus).

     Other than being well-known because he had been resurrected, 
         Lazarus is not presented with an outstanding personality!
  • Martha – may be the predominate family member who took charge!
     Her possible preeminent place in the family is shown thus:

         ➔   In the first verse of our featured Scripture, 
              Luke 10:38, it is written, “Now it happened as 
              they [Jesus and His disciples] went, that He 
              entered a certain village [Bethany]; and a cer-
              tain woman welcomed Him into her house.” I want 
              to emphasize “...HER house...”! In light of the 
              afore-mentioned “...male dominated...society...,” 
              this identification is quite unusual!

         ➔   In John 11:5 it says, “Now Jesus loved Martha 
              and her sister and Lazarus.” Notice that Martha 
              is named first, and Mary is not named at all!

         ➔   But in John 11:1 we are told, “Now a certain man 
              was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the town of Mary 
              and her sister Martha.Here Mary is named first!

     ✞   Martha obviously had the Spiritual gift of serving! 

         ➔   John 12:2 – “...they made Him [Jesus] a supper; 
              and Martha served....” 

         ➔   Romans 12:7 (International Standard Version) – 
              “If your gift is serving, devote yourself to 
              serving others.However, she comes across as overly focused on serving; 
         which suggests, she was not doing it for the glory of 
         God! She was serving because...somebody has to do it!”

         ➔   Luke 10:41 – “...Jesus...said to her, ‘Martha, 
              Martha, you are worried and troubled about many 

         ➔   Luke 10:40 and 42 – “...Martha was distracted 
              with much serving...,” even neglecting what 
              Jesus called “...the good thing...of sitting 
              at the Master’s feet and learning as He taught! 
              (see Luke 10:39). So, at least on this Luke 10 
              occasion, Martha was settling for second best!

     Yet Jesus revealed to her first and alone one of His 
         greatest teachings!

         ➔   John 11:25 and 26 (Jubilee Bible) – “I AM the 
              resurrection and the life; he that believes in 
              Me, though he is dead, yet shall he live; and 
              whosoever lives and believes in Me shall never 
              die. Believest thou this”

         ➔   John 11:26 – Martha was one of the few who comp-
              rehended who Jesus really was:Yes, Lord, I be-
              lieve that You are the Christ, the Son of God, 
              who is to come into the world.
  • Mary – She was a thoughtful and spiritual person!
        Luke 10:39 – “...Mary...sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His 
         word.Luke 10:42 – Jesus commended her when Mary chose to lis-
         ten and learn from Him, saying, “ thing is needed, 
         and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be 
         taken away from her.John 12:1 through 3:

             ...six days before the Passover, Jesus came 
             to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been 
             dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There 
             they made Him a supper; and Martha served, 
             but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the 
             table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of 
             very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the 
             feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her 
             hair. And the house was filled with the fra-
             grance of the oil.

         ➔   Several times Jesus had hinted to His followers, 
              or told them outright, that He was soon to suffer 
              and die! (see John 13:33; 14:25; Matthew 16:21; 
              17:22, 23; 20:17- 19 – Mark and Luke also relate 
              the three listed in Matthew). But from the disci-
              ples’ reaction, Christ’s followers just didn’t 
              get it! (see Matthew 16:22 and 23).

         ➔   ...all except Mary! When she poured that very 
              expensive pure nard oil on Jesus’ feet (on His 
              head, according to Matthew 26:7 and Mark 14:30 
              and the disciples began to criticize her, Jesus 
              rebuked them, saying “Let her alone. Why do you 
              trouble her? She has done a good work for Me....
              She has come beforehand to anoint My body for 
              burial.” (Mark 14:6 and 8). Mary understood that 
              Jesus was going to suffer and die!

     ✞   How did Mary know when so many others did not see it? 
         She sat at Jesus’ feet and listened to Him as He opened 
         the prophetic Old Testament passages concerning Himself! 
         These passages, such as Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53, spoke 
         quite plainly of the Messiah’s suffering and death!

Now, consider again the title of this Gem: Do You Have A Mary Heart? A heart (mind, spirit) like Mary’s that will direct you to…

  • …choose…that good part…” – focusing on Jesus, and not too intently on the multitude of tasks that beckon you!
  • …sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from His Word!
  • …understand who He is and why He came from heaven to earth!For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10).
  • …worship Him!
  • …give Him our very best gifts!

The best thing about having A Mary Heart is you will someday hear the most wonderful words ever from the lips of your Savior and Lord:

“Well done, good and faithful servant!”

(Matthew 25:23)