Am I Giving God My Best?
Truth be told, when I look around our congregation and what's going on in our community and world, I am forced to ask the question: Am I giving God my best?
The New Year's messages from our ministers and the Youth Dept.'s theme of "Commitment" for the year should also cause us to reflect on this question.
Think back to when Jesus was attending a celebration after Lazarus was raised from the dead. According to John 12:3, Mary, Lazarus' sister, welcomed Jesus by breaking open a jar of expensive oil and rubbing it on his feet with her hair. She gave Him her best. We all can learn from this loving act. For some it may seem simple on the surface, but it carries a powerful message - Mary gave Jesus the very best her family had to offer.
You may not know how precious Nard was in that day. It was extremely difficult to get, which added to its value. It comes from a plant that is grown in the Himalayan regions of China, India, and Nepal. So just getting it to Judea was no easy feat! People of Jesus' day valued it immensely for its scarcity, its healing properties, and its smell. Judas Iscariot tells us that this oil was worth a fortune and estimates that the amount Mary used was equivalent to one full year's wages. This jar of oil may well have been the most valuable possession her family owned.
I want to challenge you to break open your spiritual jars of Nard.
Your presence in the service is extremely beneficial to you as well as to the congregation. When you are missing there is a void that only you can fill. Are you willing to push past your comfort zone, are you willing to look around and see what needs to be done and do it? Are you willing to commit your finances, time, and talents?
Mary and her family demonstrated their willingness to give God their best. There was nothing too good for the Master. Jesus had given them back their brother and they were grateful so nothing was too good, too expensive, too treasured to not be given to our Lord in thanksgiving.
I want to challenge you to ask yourself - how grateful am I for what Jesus did for me? For what He has done for my family, my church?
He not only saved my family and friends - he saved ME. I can't forget how He gave His life for me! He was brutally tortured, stripped, mocked, and spat on for you and me.
As you reflect on the question: "Am I giving Christ MY best?" I am certain you will not say you have given a year's worth of wages! But are you able to say that you are faithful in your tithing? I dare say that in many cases the response my be "I am not even giving God ALL of ME."
But now that the question has been raised, ask yourself
how grateful you may appear to God based off your actions and ways you can improve.
Let me share some ways you might consider this during our time of
1. Fasting with a specific focus and a specific time.
2. Attending our 6:00 am prayer Monday - Friday
3. Attending our Noonday Prayer on Wednesday and Friday
4. Give of "First Fruits"
5. Scripture memorization - challenge yourself to remember a scripture per day. You might want to start with:
a. "If any one of you wants to be my follower, you must put aside your own pleasures and shoulder your cross and follow me closely. If you insist upon saving your life, you will lose it. Only those who throw away their lives for my sake and for the sake of the Good News will ever know what it means to really live." ~ Mark 8:34-38
b. "So no one can become my disciple unless he first sits down and counts his blessings-and then renounces them all for me." ~ Luke 14:33
c. "Let me assure you that no one has ever given up anything-home, brothers, sisters, mother, father, children, or property-for love of me and to tell others the Good News, who won't be given back a hundred times over..." ~ Mark 10:29-30
6. Commit to faithful Bible Study, Sunday School and
Some will say I am scolding or fussing but that is not my intention. I am challenging us to do better. It is time to step up!
Dr. Larry Green