You may have heard this phrase as a Christian and wondered, what does this mean exactly? Why is this important? You might have thought it applied to attending church service only.
In Luke 10:39 it says, “And she had a sister called Mary, who also sat at Jesus’ feet and heard His word.” Here we read that Mary was at Jesus’ feet listening to His Word. In John 12:3 we read, “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 fragrance of the oil.” Mary is now at the Lord’s feet worshipping Him. Then later we are told in John 11:32, “Then, when Mary came where Jesus was, and saw Him, she fell at His feet, saying to Him, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” Once again, Mary is at the Lord’s feet, but this time, it was a time of grief that brought her there. This is a biblical picture of what it means to be in His presence.
It is beautiful to read these scriptures concerning Mary. She knew how to be in His presence at the right time under the right circumstances in her life. But what will the Lord’s presence do for you and me?
As Christians, we are to be constantly learning about how to be holy, faithful and obedient to God. This requires more than just going to church. Sitting at Jesus’ feet each day, by reading His Word, allows us to hear what He wants to say to us. It’s about having a relationship with Him by communicating with Him. Being in His presence can bring about change, the changes that need to be made in our hearts, our thoughts, and in our lives.
Before I came to know the Lord, I was a free spirit living out my artistic creative life in any way that I could. My hair was long one week and cut short the next. Since I spent time in a place called The Village, in downtown New York City, I had gravitated towards a style of dress that was embraced by those who were involved in the art culture. Washington Square Park was the place where the young people hung out and read their poetry out loud, sang and vocalized any political feelings they had. It was a free space. My language and speech was worldly. I just didn’t care what anyone thought. I was raised going to church, but now I was 18 years old, and I would only stop in for Sunday school every now and then.
I can’t tell you the actual day I accepted Christ as my personal Savior, but I can tell you how my life began to change. God intended on bringing me into His presence unbeknownst to me. I had a Sunday school teacher who made me her own special project. She had known enough of my background and that gave her something to work with. Did I know who this God was or was I even interested? The answer was a solid ‘No’! I really didn’t care. This sister taught that class in such a way that I returned each Sunday just because of her. She spoke about the women of the Bible as if she hung out with them every week. She talked about God like she knew Him intimately. This was not a stuffy Sunday school class where they spewed religious knowledge with tons of scripture thrown at you.
My Sunday school teacher taught the realities of the faith and the challenges of the Christian life. She allowed herself to be vulnerable with the class, citing that she didn’t always pass the test with flying colors. I became inquisitive about this God. She never drew attention to my hair, or the way I dressed when I came to church. She let me express myself in an organic way for where I was at that time.
I learned little by little what it meant to be in His presence. My teacher broke it down for me and gave me practical suggestions to begin the process. I knew I had a lot of changes to make. These changes did not happen over night. There were some things that changed right away, like the friends I had, slowly disappeared as they saw something happening with me. They saw that I was changing. Although my hair styles and attire hung on for a while, they too eventually changed. How did this happen? Sitting in His presence! The more I did that, the more my heart, my thoughts, my attitude, my speech and what I looked like changed.
The beautiful thing about the Lord God is that He’s the perfect match for each person who keeps company with Him. He cared about my interests because He sent an artsy, creative sister to cultivate my talent right there in the church. I’m an artist today because of her! He cared about my dysfunctional upbringing, my personality, my aches and pains emotionally, and my wish list. I’m still a work in progress and I’m still on that potter’s wheel, but I’ve come to love Him and I especially like what He’s doing with me and it’s all because I stay in His presence.
Let us be encouraged and take notice of Mary and how she remained in His presence during times for learning and listening, times of worship and in her time of sorrow. May the Lord help us to be engaged with Him daily.
Patricia Stuart is an Author and Visual Artist whose ministry work involves conference speaking and ministering to women. In her books she shares the challenges of trials, afflictions and thoughts on female friendship relationship struggles. She also shares the many challenges she has faced in being a parent.
Patricia serves in Bible study groups and in music ministry. Her books can be found on Amazon as well as her website.