“But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart.” – Luke 2:18 (NASB)
Mary’s response to the chaos of her life speaks to a deep-seated, seemingly divine, serenity. She experiences and ponders. She doesn’t rail at the world or God; she thinks.
Her attitude finds a complement in another Mary, Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus. We find her throughout the Gospel narratives, and she’s always in the same position: resting at the feet of Jesus. No matter what’s going on in her life, she comes to sit or kneel at his feet.
We first see her at home (Luke 10:38-42). Jesus and his disciples stop to visit, and Martha rushes around the kitchen. Mary, though, sits at Jesus’ feet and listens. She, perhaps like Jesus’ birth mother, treasures everything he says and ponders his words in her heart.
Next, Lazarus dies (John 11:1-46). Jesus arrives at Mary and Martha’s home, and Mary throws herself at his feet. She isn’t there to listen; she’s there to grieve. Jesus acknowledges her sorrow before continuing to Lazarus’ tomb where he mourns and raises Lazarus from the dead.
In the final vignette, Mary creates a scandal. She anoints Jesus with a perfume worth about $45,000 today and wipes his feet with her uncovered hair (Mark 14:1-9; John 12:1-8). She heeded and pondered Jesus’ words and knows his death approaches. However, she also seems aware he won’t stay dead; she pours the perfume as though performing a funeral rite, maybe thinking she won’t get to offer the service before he resurrects. (She won’t. The women come to prepare Jesus’ body only to find it missing.)
Mary has listened to Jesus so well, in fact, that he has become her greatest treasure. She sacrifices a costly perfume, and she sacrifices her reputation in light of who he is and what he means to her. And her actions give us something to model. We, like the two Marys, should treasure Jesus and ponder his words in our hearts. We should sit at his feet until he, too, becomes our greatest treasure, our greatest joy, our greatest everything.