Several women went to the tomb of Jesus on Easter Sunday to anoint His body – Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, Salome. One of the Gospels mentions the “other” Mary. There may have been more, who remain nameless.
Not just “quiet” disciples, these, but almost secretive ones – these women who come for the final act of devotion for their beloved Jesus, who doubtless supported Him behind the scenes all through His ministry. Perhaps He knew who they were all along, but perhaps He didn’t. Perhaps they liked it that way.
Other people threw dinner parties for Jesus, invited Him into their homes, gave Him a place to stay when He was in town. They supported Him openly, even at the risk of their own lives. And that was fine with Him. But I wonder if there weren’t some besides these women who just did their little things here and there for Him along the way that maybe brought a smile to His face or a chuckle to His heart for just a minute when He needed it, and the memory of those little but tender gifts later on.
On Easter Sunday somebody always leaves a 4-inch chocolate cross on my desk. No note, no signature, just a chocolate cross in a wrapper. I have my suspicions as to who is responsible for it, but still . . .
Sometimes one or more of the little kids will color a picture and give it to me. If I can’t hang it on my office door, I scan it and put it on a page called My Office Door on our church website. . . .
Every once in a while something utterly frivolous and fun shows up on my desk. Again, I have my suspicions, but still . . .
And every so often one of our Elders calls me up and we have lunch together, just to chat.
These things are as precious and as welcome as the Christmas collection, Pastors’ Appreciation, or getting through another summer without having to split a paycheck, because they come from the hearts of the people who love Jesus and love me, too. Too often I’m so focused on the difficulties, the struggles, the trials and the “crosses to bear” and these things get pushed to the side.
But please don’t do that when these things come your way. They are truly gifts from people like the “other” Mary, whoever that was. Please enjoy them – play with them a while – put aside your cross and celebrate their love a bit. I don’t know what form they’ll come in: they’re like Happy Meal toys, something new and different each time, but worth taking some time out to enjoy and wonder at and play with for a bit before diving back into the salt mines of ministry. Truly that will help, because these little gifts come from some precious gifts that God has given you and me to encourage us in His work – the hearts of His people.
God bless us everyone!