In John 12, you see this incredible story of multiple characters. Of them, only one stands out as faithful, Mary. Mary is worried about, “The presence of God.” She desires to be in the presence of Jesus, growing in love with Jesus, listening to Jesus, being taught by Jesus, enjoying Jesus. She’s in the living room enjoying God, while Martha’s in the kitchen not enjoying the presence of God, but preparing presents for God. Meanwhile, Lazarus is simply just reclining at the table doing nothing while Judas is pretending to be spiritual for the purpose of personal gain.
But Mary worries about her relationship with Jesus. “Did I get my time with Jesus? Did I sit at his feet? Did I listen? Did I learn? Was I humble? Was I teachable? How’s my relationship with Jesus?”
So where do you land? Do you work real hard like Martha but you neglect to see the presence of God? Have you experienced the power of Christ in your life yet still sit around and expect the world to revolve around your needs while you recline at the table? Do you play games like Judas and use the gospel of Jesus Christ as a means of personal gain? Or are you like Mary? Who wants nothing else but the presence of God. Who wants nothing more than to sit at his feet and to worship him and to sacrifice for him and to love him and to see his face?
St. Augustine once preached a sermon in which he proposed a kind of self test to see if we truly love the presence of God: He said suppose God proposed to you a deal and said I will give you anything you want. You can possess the whole world. Nothing will be impossible for you. Nothing will be a sin, nothing forbidden. You will never die, never have pain, never have anything you do not want and always have anything you do want. Except for just one thing. You will never see my face and never experience my presence.
Augustine closed with this question: Did a chill rise in your hearts, when you heard the words “you will never see my face and never experience my presents”? If so, that chill is the most precious thing in you and it is a pure love for God.