Give to God Your Very Best
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This is the season of Giving and Thanksgiving. Today's reading reminds us of the motivation for giving thanks and the costs for giving. At FBC Killeen, we are in the middle of Christian Home week.
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Some may disagree, but I believe that there is a parallel reading of this same account in Mark 14:3-9 and Matthew 26:6-13. There it says the anointing of Jesus’ feet by Mary took place in the home of Simon the Leper. Knowing Jesus’ healing power, perhaps it should read as “Simon theformer leper.” The anointing the feet was a common practice, one Jesus was not unfamiliar with (see Luke 7:36-50 for a separate event).
Mary is again (see Luke 10:39, John 11:32) at the feet of Jesus, and Martha serving. Mary is anointing Jesus’ feet with very expensive and fragrant oil. Other readings said she also poured it lavishly on the head of Jesus. Such an anointing was more than just simply cleaning the feet of an itinerant traveling preacher. It was an extravagant ceremony and one that put Jesus in an extreme place of honor.
Have there been times when you were extravagant and lavish in your giving or ministering to God? Being extremely honest, there have been relatively few times when my worship of God could have been so excessive that I was criticized for it or that it would have been deemed "extravagant."
Undoubtedly, Mary did such an act due to her appreciation of His raising her brother from the dead. But Jesus said that Mary had kept the oil for the day of His burial. Do you think she knew and understood that Jesus was about to die?
Yes or No
Sometimes God calls us to do something extreme without knowing the reason why. And as in Mary’s case, such giving can come with criticism. But what was the motivation for Judas’ criticism?a) Care for the poor
c) Concern for Mary’s financial well-being
Doing the right thing, like Mary did, can bring criticism, even from fellow (or in this case "so-called") Christians. Remember the story of the widow who gave all that she had to God (Luke 21:1-4). Jesus did not rebuke her. He did not say, “No, you need that money more than God does.” Jesus praised the widow for giving out of her poverty. Judas’ criticism of Mary was shrouded with a ministerial covering; he appeared to be godly by saying he cared for the poor. Jesus’ response did not mean that giving to the poor was unimportant, but rather we can give to the poor at anytime (see Mark 14: 7).
What does God want us to give?
a) Our very best
b) Our leftovers
c) 10% of our income
Some are offended when "the preacher starts talking about money." But the Apostle Paul thought it was necessary to give instructions about giving (1 Corinthians 16:1-4). More instructions were given for two entire chapters in 2 Corinthians 8 and 9, where he encourages free and joyful giving. Paul, like Jesus, praises giving during hardship and rebukes criticism for lavish giving to God.
There is more to giving than just materially or financially. In 1 Cor.6:18-20 Paul says everything we have was bought by Jesus and we owe all to Him. What do you have to offer to Jesus?
Pray This Prayer To God: “Lord God, I give myself to you. I want all of my life to be a lavish gift to You. Help me to seek first the kingdom of God and Your righteousness. Everything else, I humbly receive as a gift from You. Amen.”