3.29.2017

Never again.

While He (Jesus) was in Bethany at the home of Simon the leper, and reclining at the table, there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head. But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her. But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” Mark 14:3-9

This was our text Sunday morning in church.
And the sermon was one of the most encouraging messages I have heard in a long time as it pertains to my own heart and a specific struggle I have been battling for some time.
(I will share my notes first and then tie them together with the personal piece.)

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Notes:
(The events of the text are taking place shortly before Jesus is arrested and sentenced to death.)

While many sought to kill Jesus, there were many who were devoted to Him and loved Him.
We see an incredible example of this love and devotion through the act of one woman.
"...there came a woman with an alabaster vial of very costly perfume of pure nard; and she broke the vial and poured it over His head."
٭ Her devotion is UNINHIBITED.
٭ She broke social boundaries to worship Jesus.
٭ She ignored the criticism of those who did not approve of her public display of love.
Self Reflection:  Is my devotion to the Lord uninhibited? Am I deeply in love with Jesus? Do I allow nothing and no one to keep me from serving, loving, and worshiping Him?

The woman did not POUR the perfume over Jesus. She SMASHED the vial and used all of it on her Savior. "... she broke the vial and poured it over His head."
People hated Him.
She LOVED Him.

When we are called to sacrifice to serve the Lord - we must give EVERYTHING to obey.
"Is it worth it?" is the wrong question.
IS HE WORTHY?

➛ The disciples criticized the woman for her action. It was a personal and public rebuke.
"But some were indignantly remarking to one another, “Why has this perfume been wasted? For this perfume might have been sold for over three hundred denarii, and the money given to the poor.” And they were scolding her.
٭ They saw waste - not worship.
Application: When you set out to serve the Lord, be ready to be told you are "over the top."
The irony: Jesus rebukes THEM - and praises HER.
"But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a good deed to Me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you wish you can do good to them; but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial. Truly I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.”

٭ What the world deemed wasteful and embarrassing (her public display of affection), Jesus measured as love. "She has done a good deed to Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body beforehand for the burial."
And He recorded her act of love in the pages of Scripture, to be read and remembered forever.

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I am often criticized for being "too passionate," "too intense," "too spiritual."
"Why do you always have to talk about the Lord? Can't you just talk about normal things?"
"Do you have to answer everything with Scripture?"
"You should calm down about orphan care. Your intensity offends people who are not called to this ministry."
"Don't you think pulling people on your lap or kneeling in front of them to hold their hand when they are hurting is a little dramatic?"

A few months ago I begged the Lord to show me a verse to support my passion for ministry because if I can't support what I am doing with Scripture, I have no business doing it!
He did not answer the prayer immediately, but when He did answer, the timing was perfect. (As His timing always is.)
This is where He led me. Romans 12:11
Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord.
The NLT reads: Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this!

While this verse looped through my brain, the Lord had me in a Sunday school class studying the life of Paul, focusing on his conversion and his calling.
Tim would ask, "Brethren! Do you know your calling?"
And praise the Lord, at 45 years old, I could answer, "YES! I know my calling! It is to love and serve my husband and children, and minister to the brokenhearted." 
The Lord's purpose for my life has never been more clear and I LOVE what He has called me to do!

And yet - unlike the woman who ignored the criticism of those who were uncomfortable with her passion and her demonstrative displays, I listened. And I was discouraged. And confused. How can serving the Lord with passion be a bad thing?

And then came Sunday.
As my pastor expounded on the uninhibited, unashamed, and unapologetic heart of the woman who smashed the vial of perfume over the head of her Savior, I felt an overwhelming sense of contentment as the Lord soothed my heart and said, "Never again, daughter. Never apologize for loving Me, for serving Me, or for obeying Me. Like the woman who gave me everything she could, I want you to give me the same. ALL of you. With as much passion as you possess. It doesn't matter what anyone else thinks. Just give Me YOU."

And all I could say, 
all I wanted to say, 
was, "Yes, Lord."

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