Thursday, April 3, 2014

Memorial Worship

“And when Jesus was in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold for much and given to the poor.”

But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me. For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always. For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” – Matthew 26:6-13

True worship will always include sacrifice.  Sometimes it is in unseen things like the breaking of pride, the humbleness of speaking the words of worship, such as “I need you, oh, I need you… every hour I need you…”  At other times it’s a visible shedding of tears, kneeling, or laying prostrate in prayer. 

But this woman took it to a level that others didn’t understand.  She gave a gift of great financial value.  She may have saved for this flask of oil for a long time.  While the disciples saw the gift as one of great financial value, they didn’t see the full gift.  The gift was NOT the oil alone.  The gift she gave Christ was in worshipping Him with her very best.  She could have just as easily washed Jesus with water, and there would have been no controversy.  But when she was willing to give of something precious to her, the washing became more than a bath – it became worship.   

If you remember, Christ was just as impressed with the woman who gave two mites (worth less than a cent) in Mark 12:41-44, saying of her “Assuredly, I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all those who have given to the treasury; for they all put in out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty put in all that she had, her whole livelihood.”  She sacrificed not from her abundance, but into her need.

Consider our own worship. 

We go to church on Sunday mornings.  Well….unless it’s raining, or we have plans.

We stand and sing.  Well…some of us do, and some of us won’t even do that! 

We give our tithes and offerings.  Well…some of us do, and some are too greedy to give God what is already His.

We volunteer to serve in church ministries and community ministries - but only if we can get some sort of recognition or praise for it.  (Take note that if you do it for the praise of man, you’ve stopped worshipping God and started worshipping man.  If you seek man’s praise, you have lost the praise of your Father in Heaven – Matthew 6:1.)

We visit the sick….or not.

We visit those in prison and those in nursing homes…but not unless they’re related to us. 

Our own worship is so lacking in gifts from our need – or even from our abundance – that it isn’t worship at all.

Jesus told the disciples that this woman who anointed him with expensive oil would be remembered and it would “be told as a memorial to her” wherever the gospel was preached in the whole world.  Her worship was important enough to Jesus that she became famous for it.

If we choose to not apply this word to our own lives, we’ve read it in vain.  So I have to ask the question, of myself and of you my friend, will our worship of God be a memorial to us when we are gone?  Or will it be the last thing people think of when they remember us?

My life will have been lived in vain if I have not successfully worshipped God with life itself.

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