Written by Chelsea Lecander
“She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.” (Lk. 10:38-40)
Preparation is a posture, not a pursuit. In an age where preparedness has become practically synonymous with activity—doing things, feeling things, buying things, being things— it is important to remember that preparation in the Bible is almost always synonymous with a yielded posture of heart and spirit. To see this, we look no further than two Marys and a Martha.
When the Angel of the LORD came to Mary, who would become the mother of Christ, he said: “You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus”(Luke 1:31). If we think about that for a moment, through the world’s eyes, was anything about Mary “prepared” to bear a child, let alone the Redeemer of mankind? Was she married? Did she know anything about motherhood? Was she mature and wise by cultural standards? A pretty logical mind would say, no no and no. And yet… and yet. We clearly see Almighty God choose Mary as the vessel who will carry Jesus Christ—and we have a pretty clear understanding of why: “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God” (Lk 1:30). Mary had found favor with the LORD, not because of what she had done to be prepared for use by Him, but because of her posture towards Him. She was prepared from her rich tradition of communion with the LORD, she knew God.
If we travel a little further into the book of Luke we find a second Mary, with a sister named Martha. The account opens with Martha in the immediate pursuit of preparedness, and Mary at the LORD’S feet listening: “Mary…sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made” (Luke 10:38-40). I always feel for Martha, because she was preparing herself and her home in a way many of us most relate too… but we see Jesus lovingly correct this mentality: “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42). How humbling and world-shaking for us to hear that admonition, but how freeing indeed. Mary’s choice to sit with Jesus reflects the correct posture—communion with God.
This Advent season, when you think about preparing your hearts and making room, let these women remind you that Jesus doesn’t want your action items. He wants correct posture, and that is only achieved by being with Him. How many times do we have to hear God say, I don’t want your service, I just want you, before it really sinks in? God wants us to remember that being prepared for Him starts and ends with Him. Being prepared to receive the graces of God means being with Him, listening, delighting, believing in, and obeying His voice. I want you to be encouraged, I want you to know that He wants your heart, your humble, earnest, broken, tired, honest heart for Advent and for forever. Check your posture: be with God. Mary & Mary knew that this was the state of true preparedness.