“Comparison paralyzes, but camaraderie found in our less-than-perfect hearts inspires. Discover camaraderie in the imperfection of the Marys.” – Andy Lee, A Mary Like Me
Andy and I met online some years ago, a chance passing on a blog link-up, I believe through either The Timewarp Wife, or Lisa Jo Baker. We started frequenting each other’s blogs and sharing comments, but I’ll never forget our first real-life meeting.
Sitting in a packed class at a writers conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, I turned to introduce myself to my neighbor.
“Hi, I’m Jen Weaver.”
That’s when I heard a voice from the row behind me. “The Jen Weaver? It’s me, Andy Lee!” (I know that sounds like I’m a big deal, it’s just my URL since both “Jen” and “Weaver” are super common.) 🙂
I love when I get the chance to interact in real life with people I met in print. I share this anecdote because not only is it a great story, but that same real-life connection happens as we interact with the biblical Marys through Andy’s book.
A Mary Like Me
Note: I received a copy of this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Andy takes us through riveting stories and in-depth explorations of scripture (often going back to the Hebrew, Greek, and even Aramaic) to understand their lives in context. Her words humanize these women, not maligning them, but helping us remember that they too, needed Christ as Savior.
One of my favorite moments from the book—and there are many—comes from the life of Mary of Bethany. We often hear her name alongside her sister’s, the famous duo of Martha and Mary.
During their famous meal in Luke 10, Martha is busy making preparations while Mary sits at Jesus’s feet. Here is a glimpse of A Mary Like Me‘s insight into this dinner scene:
“We traditionally hear Jesus’s reply to Martha as, ‘Mary has chosen the better.’ But there are other ways to translate that answer. The Greek word is agathos (ag-ath-os’). It means: good, better, benevolent, profitable, and useful. What if Jesus actually told Martha that Mary had chosen the truly useful activity? In the context of the story, it makes sense. Remember, Martha complained that Mary wasn’t helping; she wasn’t being useful. Martha wasn’t asking Jesus to tell her sister to do something better. She was demanding that Jesus make her sister useful in preparing the meal. Despite her demands, Jesus told Martha that Mary was doing the useful thing.” – A Mary Like Me
What if Mary sat not because she was lazy or unaware, but out of the intention to learn from Jesus? Recognizing the unique moment to come under His guidance as a student. And chose to be useful by learning, that she could spread His message? I enjoyed reading the entire book (you can read the first chapter here) but this one element stuck with me longer than most others.
Am I attentive to the things that are most useful?
Yes, things must get done. Carpools and errands, paying bills and preparing food But am I so consumed by the immediate uses of my time that I neglect the thing that is most useful—sitting at the feet of Jesus?
Please, don’t hear me to say we should all sit and study scripture all day in the middle of an unkept home filled with hungry crying children. (I’m sure Jesus would talk to us about that anyway, you know, while we’re sitting there.) I simply want to echo Andy’s call. To come find grace and courage. We can learn from each other, celebrating successes and receiving unmerited favor even in our failures. We are all flawed, yet called to Jesus.