We Just Can’t Help Ourselves

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Contributed by Chris Rhodenhizer, Lead Pastor of Image Church

You see, Jesus once said this…

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  [Matthew 6:21, ESV]

Jesus also said you cannot serve two masters; you cannot serve both God and money. He didn’t say you should not, or it’s hard to. No — He said you cannot!

We are living in some quite unusual times. Our world seems to have lost its way, and its way was money!  Everyone is talking about it.  It is the ongoing story of our daily news feeds, as well as the topic of conversation in our social circles.  Our economy is in shambles, and in some way it has had an impact on all of us.

John tells us about this huge party that Jesus was at.   He was enjoying Himself with some of His closest friends doing what He loved, hanging out with people over a good meal and drink…

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2So they gave a dinner for him there.  Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5“Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. 7Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. 8For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.” 9When the large crowd of the Jews learned that Jesus was there, they came, not only on account of him but also to see Lazarus, whom he had raised from the dead. 10So the chief priests made plans to put Lazarus to death as well, 11because on account of him many of the Jews were going away and believing in Jesus.  [John 12:1-11, ESV]

We find everyone else caught up in conversation, but Mary is getting her very expensive and probably most valuable possession, so she can give it to Christ.  It was a jar of fragrant perfume that had probably been given to her at birth.  It was worth about 300 days wages!  She brings it back to the dining room, quietly sneaks over to Jesus’ feet, and begins to clean His feet with it.   She does such a thorough job that she has to mop-up some with her hair.  Can you imagine everyone’s response?  Judas, who later betrayed Jesus, is in the back calculating the value of the perfume – taking a false, hypocritical stand for the poor.  Of course, Jesus puts a stop to the bickering and graciously accepts the gift, and more importantly the heart behind it.  You see, there is more going on here than we see on the surface.  Mary naturally lived-out what she believed — that’s why she could do what she did.  Here are some reasons for her unbelievable display of sacrifice for Jesus:

1st:  She realized all she had was from Jesus

Mary gave all she had because she truly understood this – all was from God.  She not only gave of her financial resources, but she gave of her time and abilities as well. Mary was not careful either.  What I mean by this is that she did not measure out 10% of her perfume, then 10% of her time to wash His feet, then 10% of her energy.  No – she released it all!  The 10% would have been the lowest minimum standard she could have given Jesus!!!

2nd:  She was exploding with gratitude

Jesus had brought Mary’s brother back to life.  When she saw Jesus, she exploded with expressing how grateful she was for Him.  He had truly given her and her family life! How could she offer the One who gave her life anything less than all she had?

3rd:  She sacrificed for what she truly believed in

When Mary saw Jesus, she automatically fell at His feet.  The others who were present asked why she didn’t give to the poor, or give the money to Jesus’ ministry, or give the money to the temple.  Mary did not even think about any of these good things, because she was in the presence of the Best, and all she could do was fall at His feet and offer Him her all.

SHE JUST COULDN’T HELP HERSELF!!!

So, as our world focuses on a financial crisis, the church should be focused on Jesus.  Our giving and tithing should not change based on the economy, our hope should not shift based on the stock market, and our churches should shine all the more in these dark times!  The church needs to be doing all we can for the Kingdom and His Glory, now more than ever.

Imagine This – Imagine giving all we can, because we just can’t help ourselves.

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