Two Sides to Every Selfie

Photography deals exquisitely with appearances, but nothing is what it appears to be. ~Duane Michals

Envisioning a selfie of Mary sister of Martha National Health Examiner - Snacks

It seems her sister Martha assumed she could count on Mary to help her preparations after Martha invited Jesus to their home. But we do not see Mary in this word picture. How do you imagine Mary’s selfie while Martha prepares? Sitting under a tree, daydreaming? Helping until the moment Jesus walked in and then dropping at Jesus feet no longer concerned whether every corner had been swept? A spiritual woman without the overworked sense of somebody must do it, like her sister? Someone with no baggage?

It’s all there in Luke 7.

The Other Mary – Flashback to the Pharisee’s house

Luke 7:36-50 Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him (Jesus) to dine with him. And He entered the Pharisee’s house, and reclined at the table. And behold, there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the  Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet, and anointing them with the perfume.

AlabasterboxNow when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet He would know who and what sort of person this woman is who is touching Him, that she is a sinner.”

And Jesus answered (his thoughts)and said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he replied, “Say it, Teacher.” “A certain moneylender had two debtors: one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. “When they were unable to repay, he graciously forgave them both. Which of them therefore will love him more?” Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.” And He said to him, “You have judged correctly.”


And turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears, and wiped them with her hair. “You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. “You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. “For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

And He said to her, “Your sins have been forgiven.”

And those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, “Who is this man who even forgives sins?”

And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

And later at the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus:

John 11:1-2 Now a certain man was sick, Lazarus of Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. And it was the Mary who anointed the Lord with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair, whose brother Lazarus was sick.

OS09078“There was a woman in the city, who was a sinner…” (translated: an immoral woman). Everyone present likely knew Mary’s reputation just as the Pharisee, Simon, who invited Jesus to his home. Wouldn’t you like to have been there when the Pharisee was thinking that if Jesus was a prophet he should know what a sinner this woman was, and Jesus answered his thoughts.


Did Mary believe the Messiah before or after she poured out the contents of the alabaster jar on Jesus feet? Her selfless act was apparently a redemptive one as she washed Jesus’ feet with her tears. Her spiritual selfie at that moment appears to have totally collided with her physical actions. Selfless. Totally focused outward, on Christ. What a picture of worship!


And talk about transformation!


When the Messiah came to Martha and Mary’s home, Jesus told Martha that Mary had “chosen the good part.” Instead of a what, Mary chose Who as her focus – her one thing. Jesus Christ. A cross-reference to that quote from Luke 10:42 is Psalm 27:4 One thing I have asked from the LORD, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD all the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to meditate in His temple.


IMG_7257Jesus was Mary’s one thing. He was her focus.


Where is my focus? Is it on a thing, or is it on the Lord?


Reverse the Focus: Worship

What is my one thing? If I journal my prayer habits, would I find that I first focus on my needs or wants? Or do I focus on the character and person of my God and Savior? Do I worship or do I beg God to fill my ‘grocery list’ of requests?

Zoom in – Mary had much for which to give thanks, as I do. Perhaps if I make a list of all the thankful things, that can draw me to truly worship, and to recognize my impotence without the Lord’s work in my life. I am still growing, and have much to learn, refine, develop and activate.   John 9:25 He therefore answered, … one thing I do know, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” What do I know about how Christ has changed my life?

Capture It –- Photographs are wonderful reminders of memories we might otherwise soon forget. Stories are also like photographs, because they bring us back to special moments. I’ve often recommended to others an experiment that I find encouraging – to make a spiritual lifeline. The scriptures reveal Mary’s lifeline. For yours, draw a line representing your life. Then every few years or so along that life-line draw an up arrow or a down arrow or peak to mark good and bad experiences. Show each decade’s major life events. Below each life-line mark, write a brief sentence or two describing the event and the life impact it had.  Don’t wait for your tombstone to tell your story.

My lifeline has helped me to see God working in my life before I was aware of it, peoplIMG_2695e blessing me before I knew them, and the answers to prayers being worked out before I knew I had a need and far before I saw the result.

Likes – Those who know all about you and love you anyway will find your selfies and snapshots moments of celebration!


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