Willie Brown - "The Six Marys" - Carnteel Convention - 1946

One of our workers in South Africa used to tell a little story that appeals to me very much.  It comes to my mind this evening, especially while sitting here and listening to God's people speak to our heart.  The story tells of a church organist who was very capable and very fond of his instrument.  This man was playing alone in the church; he thought no one was listening; but a very poor man was; and he came into the church.  He came to the organist and whispered, "Will you please allow me to play a piece?"  The organist looked at his clothes-ragged, torn, dirty, dejected, outcast beggar.  He went on playing.  The poor man repeated, "Will you please allow me?"  He insisted, so the organist thought, "I will let him play."  The poor man was not very long playing until the organist said, "I beg your pardon; I am sorry, I am sorry."  What had happened?  The poor man was a great musician; his whole being responded to the music.  He was a Master.  And do you know what the organist said?  "How easily I could have missed it - how easily I could have missed it!"

There are very tiring, earthly things; the voice of men and the toils and cares of life; but when the sweet music of God is coming forth from the mouth of His children; what do we say in our hearts tonight?  We say, "How easily we might have missed it."  We have the chance of proving to God that we really love Him and love His people.  We have been singing; "I will not let Him go."  I haven't had conventions for a number of years; not so very many, but I feel tonight I cannot express my gratitude to God and His people for being here.  Serving God is often like a person holding onto a rope.  And Satan is continually seeking to wear down our power of resistance and sometimes we feel that the rope is nearly gone.  God looks upon us and is speaking to us, and we feel, "I want to take hold."  I know the woman who wrote that hymn, "Loose not thine hold."  She told me, "I was nearly gone and God moved my heart to write these words, 'Loose not thine hold, O Soul so weary worn.'"  I suppose if every one of us were to give our testimony, we would have to say, perhaps we would blush with an amount of shame, "I nearly let go."  We are here to take a fresh hold on Him.

I would like to speak a little about the six "Mary's" mentioned in the New Testament.  There is a great deal to encourage every one in the word of God.  This study has helped me.  I read it, I continue to read it.  I see more and more beauty in the lives of these six women; noble, brave, upright women; they were the cream of the earth, amongst those of whom the world was not worthy, and God has left them on record.

The first, is Mary, the Mother of Jesus.  We could tell her by two names.  The Submissive one or the Humble one.  A person who is submissive would be humble; a person who is proud would be rebellious.  God would like that this word would be written on our hearts more fully.  "Submission."  We like other people to submit to us, and listen to us, but sometimes we don't like to submit to others.  It speaks of wives to their husbands and, "ye all are subject one to the other."  If a man had made the choice of who was to be the Mother of God's Son, it surely would never have been that poor, humble, submissive woman; but God's thoughts are not the thoughts of man.  It is a great thing that they are not.  Even Samuel when those brothers of David were before him, fain would have anointed the wrong one.  Was it a little reproof?

"Man looketh on the outward appearance, but God looketh on the heart."  God spoke, the Angel Gabriel spoke; Mary was troubled.  "How can it take place?"  What was the answer?  "With God all things are possible," and then God speaks again.  The Devil says, "You will never make the grade."  He will never grow weary in his efforts to overthrow; but God will give us strength.  "With God all things are possible."  What was the thing that preceded that beautiful son of Mary?  Submission.  "Be it unto me, I am willing, I cannot see nor understand."  "Faith sees the heavenly legions, when doubt sees naught but foes."  Mary was willing;  what would happen after that?  "There shall be performance of these things."  There was no rebellion.  There is something in our nature that rebels against correction; against guidance.  The Bible says, "Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft."  It is serious to see a person rebellious; and how good if God could see submission.  Alex Pierce said, "I think I can say I am 100% willing."  That made some of us feel very bad.  I believe he meant it.  God would like to break down any little rebellion; so that like Mary we would be able to go on to whatever His will may be for our lives.

It wasn't an easy thing when Mary went up there and all the rooms were full in the inn.  The inn and stable were together.  The animals were down below and the people were on top; every corner was full.  She did not grumble; just went there, a humble woman, a humble place, a humble child, two pigeons, because she was not able to offer a lamb to God.  How much pride would rise up in our hearts in one form or another.  When God told Mary and Joseph to go into
Egypt, they might have said, "There are plenty of caves in Palestine; surely God can send us there."  God said, "Go into Egypt."  There again we find submission to the will of God.  I notice they left at night; think of them getting a few things together and starting on that journey.  Some of us have been over that journey.  It takes 12 to 14 hours to go from Jerusalem to Cairo by train traveling at 30 to 40 miles per hour; through the land of the Philistines; over into Egypt, or desert country.  We can picture Joseph and Mary and the babe leaving that little home in Nazareth.  Sometimes when one thinks of the comforts that many people have in life; yet you would hear a murmur, grumbling.  We often hear, "Home is the place where we grumble the most and are treated the best."  That little home in Nazareth was gone for a time.  I can picture them away out there in the darkness, getting up day after day; great sand dunes there; a desert road, but I believe if Joseph and Mary could have sung that hymn they would have said, "Sweet companionship with One who once the desert trod."  What makes us sing?  "We thank thee Lord, for weary days."  Because God is with us.  The prison was a sweet place for Joseph because God was with him, and the desert was a sweet place for the same reason.  "Anywhere with Jesus, I can safely go."

Later on we find Mary at the Marriage.  It is said probably Joseph had passed on then, because one would naturally have thought Joseph would have been invited; if he had been alive.  Mary said, "They have no wine."  Jesus answered, "Woman, what have I to do with thee?"  It would seem that there was a tinge of sharpness, but there may not have been.  Mary said, "Whatever He sayeth unto you, do it."  Submission to the will of God.  Later on Jesus said, "Who is my mother?"  I don't know if she was over anxious, but we never find as far as I know a murmur there.  That is what brings peace.  When the nations are fighting, there is trouble, when the white flag goes up, there is peace.

We don't read much for eighteen years, except that she went up to the Passover year after year.  In the closing stages of the life of Jesus, the words of Simeon were being fulfilled, in Mary's life.  "A sword shall pierce through thine heart."  Also, that the thoughts of many may be revealed.  It is a good thing to do as Mary did.  She kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.  Thirty-three years later, we find her living and faithfully bearing the reproach.  Three dreadful hours.  The sun withheld its light; refused to shine; a dark, dark time, but Mary was there.  I would like to submit, and give my little piece of clay to God so that He could fashion it and make it what He wants me to be.  Jesus, when on the cross, looked down.

It must have been a great comfort to see His mother.  Some of the last words on earth were, "John, care for my mother."  She was submitting to the will of God, when the whole world was against; not only that, the crucifixion had taken place.  The resurrection and the ascension:  where do we find Mary?  The last time she is mentioned is in the first chapter of Acts.  We find her present with the 120.  All that had taken place had not dimmed the fire of love that was kindled in her heart, when she said, "Be it unto me according to Thy word."  This is 100% submission to God.  And think of what she live to see, and to enjoy.  She sat there with Peter and the others and saw THE GREAT HARVEST OF SOULS BEING REAPED.  Would you have liked to have been one of the 120?  "Take the world and give me Jesus.  All its joys are but a name."  We can say that too.  "It was with voice of singing we left that land of night."  After God showing us the riches of His kingdom these days.  What is going to open heaven's kingdom these days to us as we move away?  "SUBMISSION TO THE WILL OF GOD, AND SUBMITTING TO ONE ANOTHER."  It is not an easy thing.

You want to be great in the sight of God and someone has wronged you - just be willing to submit and God will bring you out on top; just as it took 22 years to bring Joseph out.  He stood before his brethren and said, "God sent me before you to preserve life."

The second MARY, the sister of Martha, the Sacrificing one.  I have enjoyed thinking of where she sacrificed.  There are two instances not so very clear.  One was six days before the Passover; but in any case that does not matter so much,  the thing that speaks to me is this; when Mary did it.  I have valued brothers and sisters many times when I have felt the temperature of love was low; when someone was able to speak a testimony to help me.  I would like to do the same for others.  There is a very dark picture on that background.  At the beginning of that chapter in Matthew and Mark, there was an assembly of the chief priests and scribes gathered together plotting and planning how to take Jesus.  And then in the house of Simeon the leper, there was another gathering; a little picture of a little flock gathered.  Wild animals were ready to devour, and clouds were hanging over that house; everything was ready to burst into a terrible storm.  There we find at that time, Mary broke the alabaster box.  Alabaster is not an expensive thing.  You can buy a box for 1/s.  I have seen them many times.  It is soft, white stone, and is hollowed out for ornaments.  It wasn't so much the box; it was what the box contained. It was not the box that smelled; it was the ointment, the sacrifice; it was those ingredients, which had been pounded, and made scent.  Some people have perhaps a very nice looking box; but they are not willing to have it broken.  You go into a home and you see empty chairs; a son, a daughter; some of the family out preaching the gospel; the home is broken.  You go to where convention is held; people giving gladly different things, sacrifices; you see peoples lives broken in the Service of God.  This is a very nice word.  And only when this takes place in our lives can the sweet fragrance of Christ go forth.  The house was filled with the odor of the ointment.  She wiped His feet with the hairs of her head.  The others enjoyed that day, something that came from sacrifice.

There is a little story that I will tell you about a shepherd that had a faithful dog.  This dog had a family; but the master sent it out to round up the sheep.  It brought them home, but three were missing.  When the dog came back, the master sent it out again, and it went and brought home one of the sheep.  It came back panting; the master said, "Go again."  The dog went and brought back No. 2.  It was just about to go away to the family.  The sun was setting, but the master said, "Go again."  It went.  The master went to his home.  He did not come out that night; but next morning he found the lost one, the straying one was brought home; but there he found his dog lying dead.  How did that animal spend the first part of its life?  In bringing a lost straying one home.  That was sacrifice; that was love.  Sometimes one feels that we don't know the depth of love yet in a very small way do we understand what the word sacrifice means; but in these meetings God is seeking to help us.

There is a young man in
Egypt; he started to serve God seven or eight years ago.  He was in the Greek Merchant Navy, he was an engineer.  Out in the ship in the ocean a raider came and stopped the ship; took off the crew on board; blew up the ship and took the men away.  They were on this raider for three weeks and then this ship transferred them to another ship.  Of course, the objective was that they would be taken to Germany.  Two weeks later, there was a terrible explosion.  the ship was torpedoed.  The young man told how the life boats were being lowered with the captain and German officers; and the best people in the ship were put into a lifeboat and the others had to look after themselves.  Just as the lifeboat was being lowered, something happened and it turned up side down, and all the crew went into the water and were minced up by the propeller.  This young man and another climbed up to the top of the ship and jumped into the water.  They saw some lifeboats but they were too full.  It was in the month of February and there they were.  Swimming around three rafts, and they went and did what God wants you and me to do these days.  They took hold and jumped into the raft; an old man threw them a blanket; there they were sitting on that raft soaking wet with a wet blanket around them.  These two were alone and were there for three days and three nights.  He looked to the other raft and saw a man lose his reason, and dying and they tipped him overboard.  Another the same, the man who was with this young man was not serving God, he said, "If God will only spare my life, I will not only be a Servant; but will be a Servant of Servants; but I am going to die.  I can't stand it any longer."  This young man said, "Don't say that - I am praying and God will hear my prayer".

Something was coming towards them; it was a German Submarine; it took the two and some others on board and there for three years was a prisoner of war. During that time he learned the English language; he only knew Greek.  What I would like to say about it is this; God will hear our cry.  No doubt God had guided that submarine there to help that young man.  That young man had in his heart a desire to go into God's harvest field.  He wrote letters; a Greek Bible was sent to him from
Egypt, as he had lost his own.  He was reading that Bible and writing; he said, "I want to give my life in God's service."  Six months ago, he started out.  I don't know the language of your heart tonight.  Do you want to sacrifice your life like Mary, the Sacrificing one.  She hath done this beforehand.  In passing I would like to say something about one of Wilson's first friends in Africa; a woman there who died sometime ago.  She had a very, very difficult life.  Had trouble in her home, but was true to God.  Her husband made it difficult, but later he was very kind.  The daughter was a worldly girl.  I will never forget a little picture I saw in Johannesburg.  The woman passed away and a number went to the funeral parlor, and saw the corpse there of one who had ministered unto God's Servants a thousand times over; had opened her home and done so many things.  God is a good bookkeeper; and He will never forget her.  There was her husband at the head of the coffin crying like a child; and the daughter with her arms around her father, sobbing.  I will never forget what the father said to her, "Maudie, Maudie; you would not listen to your mother; it is too late now."  As I looked at the still lifeless form, could she hear?  No - how different it could have been for Maudie that day.

Mary brought the box before hand.  If you want to be a comfort to your father or mother who are serving God, give them a bunch of flowers now.  What is the use of saying what we could have done when it is too late.  Mary brought it beforehand.  When I leave my companion at the end of the year, I think of so many things that I could have done; when I could have acted differently when I didn't.  God wants us to do it now.

The third Mary - Mary Magdalene - the Waiting One.  There is a great deal lost and missed in our lives, because we do not wait.  You often have been rewarded by just waiting five minutes longer.  "I will wait a little while."  You feel the heavens are brass; but you wait on, and as you wait you realize that God is rewarding you.  Think of Mary Magdalene with seven devils.  Completely under the power of Satan.  The most wonderful thing in a person's life is the work of God.  "His name shall be called WONDERFUL." 
Wonderful Kingdom, wonderful family and relationship.  We have been called into the thing that has been hid from the wise and prudent.  Think of where Mary was; God came into her life when she came and offered Jesus something.  When she came with those other women seeking Jesus early in the Garden.  There was something genuine there.  She, too, tasted the darkness of Calvary.  We find her there weeping.  "What are you looking for?"  When do you shed tears?  Is it when you have pain, when your business goes wrong, when you lose something?  "They have taken away my Lord and I know not where they have laid Him."  Mary turned around and when she saw Jesus said, "Rabboni."  Jesus said, "Go tell my brethren, I go to my Father and your Father."  Think of the relationship of Christ with God for all eternity.  Think of the home in heaven.  Jesus said, "My Father and Your Father."  "My God and your God."  Mary got the first message; others came and looked in and went in fear and doubts, but Mary waited.  Daniel waited three times a day, and could face the King of Babylon and the lions' den.  Others have mentioned already about prayer; it is a wonderful experience when we really get alone with God.

The next one we think about is Mary, the wife of Cleopas.  She was the mother of James and Joseph.  We might think of her as the enduring one.  She witnessed the crucifixion.  She was enduring the cross; stood with Mary the mother of Jesus, and Mary Magdalene.  I am sorry there are not seven Mary's.  We don't read much about Mary the wife of Cleopas; there are some people we don't hear much about, but year after year you will find them practical men and women in the service of God - enduring.  During the war we have got a little idea of the things people will endure for earthly kingdoms, and how slow we are to go in and possess the land; how prone we are to murmur and complain.  Job said, "He knoweth the way that I take and when I am tried, I shall come forth as gold."  There was something wonderful about those few women around the cross.

The next one is Mary, the mother of Mark.  I think we could call her the worthy one.  Why?  Because she had a worthy home.  How could a person be more worthy?  By being more willing; more submissive to God.  A little company of people gathered together in
Jerusalem, praying.  Mary had a son out preaching the gospel.  There in that home we find some of God's flock.  I don't think there is anything so (would it be too strong to say) hallowed, or sacred if you have a home where God's little flock meet together on Sunday morning, and where those emblems are put before the people of God.  It is a sacred place.  The longer I am in the harvest field and coming and going into homes where God's little flock meet together on Sunday morning and receiving so much Kindness at the hand of the Children of God; I feel more and more these are Sacred Places.  It is the place where I have to take off my shoes from off my feet for it is holy ground; to act right in the home, I never forget what someone said of a certain worker.  People were so impressed, they said, "There never was a man in our home like this, who was so like Jesus."  What they did see was something of the Lamb of God.  They saw what John saw, "Behold the Lamb of God."  What made John turn to Jesus to say those words?  He wanted those men  to get linked unto the Lamb of God.  The home of Mary, the mother of Mark.  A place of Prayer.  Be careful not to allow things to come into your home that are not like Jesus; it can be a little leaven that leavens the whole lump.  It can be like a fly in the ointment.  I can see cream and sugar, and a fly drops in.  It is an awful spoiling thing.  It would be sad if something came in to spoil our homes, our testimonies.

James was killed by the sword, and Herod proceeded further to take Peter, also.  He was behind he iron bars and sleeping between two soldiers, "He giveth His beloved Sleep."  The angel came and smote Peter on the side and raised him up and his chains fell off.  "Gird thyself, follow me."  Where did he go?  He went to his own company.  "I am a companion of all those that fear Thee."  You can know a person by their company.  Peter went along and knocked at the door; a damsel came, they could not believe it.  Sometimes we pray and are astonished that God answers; worthy homes, worthy prayers and the servant of God is set free to carry on the work of God.  Wouldn't you like to have a worthy home?  People of the world, the king and princes; but surely this way, the mysteries of Christ; it is a privilege; not because of what we are, but because of Him whom we represent in the world.  We are the Children of a King.  "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."  The world is going mad over so many things; happy are the people who have the rest and peace of God in their lives.

The last one is Mary the Roman Christian.  The sixth one.  "Greet Mary who bestowed much labor upon us."  Upon Paul and the others.  I don't know what Mary did for Paul and his fellow workers.  When you have a chance to give a cup of cold water in the name of a disciple;  you give some little sacrifice.  It might only be like the two mites.  She hath done what she could, and don't be jealous over the other people who do more.  Some might do something with a wrong motive and just pile up wood, hay, and stubble.  "When obstacles and trials like prison walls to be, I do the little I can do and leave the rest to Thee."  A little thing is a little thing, but faithfulness in a little thing is a great thing.  That poor soul left her home that day with two mites; a mite is half a farthing.  She might have felt, "I will give half of it" and not realized that 2000 years later we would be speaking of one who did not withhold, but gave all to Jesus.  Jesus commended her because she kept back nothing.  "Greet Mary who bestowed much labor upon us."  Not much talking; much labor.

I hope we will learn to be co-workers with God.   As we think of these six Marys and the characteristics in their lives.  They manifested loyalty and faithfulness.  I hope it will move us to fill our place faithfully, so that at the end of the journey we might hear the WELL DONE OF GOD.