WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO SERVE JESUS?
1. Has it ever occurred to you that everything that Jesus ever
did on this earth He did for us?† Now
you think about it.† He was born for us.† No one made him leave the comfort of heaven to
come into a world of woe.† He did it
voluntarily for us.
2. He lived and died for us.† Jesus lived a perfect life that He might die a perfect death, and thereby secure for us a perfect salvation.† "He who knew no sin became sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."† (II Cor. 5:21)
3. He was raised for us.† Jesus came out of death's dungeon, holding the door in one hand and the key in the other, that He might take the sting out of our death.
4. One day He is going to return visibly for us.† He will come to capture the living saints, raise the dead saints, and reunite all saints forever with Him.†
5. Now think about it.† He was born for us; He lived for us; He died for us; He was raised for us; He is coming again for us.
6. So I want to ask you this question.† What are you doing for Him?† What on earth are you doing for heaven's sake?
7. We can learn a lot about serving the Lord Jesus from a lady whose name was not even mentioned by Mark, though we know from the other gospel writers her name was Mary.† Because of what she did, the Lord Jesus gave her an eternal honorary membership in God's Hall of Fame.† What put her in God's Hall of Fame can put us in God's Hall of Fame.† What she gave to Jesus, we can give to Jesus.† What she did for Jesus, we can do for Jesus.
THIS MORNING FROM (MARK 14:3-9) I WANT TO SHOW YOU FROM THIS SWEET WOMAN WHAT IT TAKES TO SERVE JESUS.
I.† FIRST, IT TAKES A SENSITIVE SPIRIT TO SERVE JESUS.
1.† Mary was sensitive to the needs of Jesus in a way that no one else around her was.
A.† How Her Sensitivity Was Developed
1. In the story in Mark, there were two ladies in that house: "Martha" and "Mary."
2. Now Martha was in the kitchen fixing supper.† She probably knew what Jesus' favorite food was.† She knew how hungry He must have been.† She wanted him to have the strength that he needed to continue his teaching, and preaching.† She was doing what she thought was best.
3. But Mary knew something that the others did not know.† She knew that the sunshine of Jesus' life was about to be eclipsed by the shadow of Calvary.† She knew that his heart was heavy with the burden of the cross.† She knew that He was living within sight of the valley of the shadow of death.† You see, there was a tremendous difference that day in what Mary and Martha knew about Jesus.† Martha knew the stomach of Jesus, but Mary knew the heart of Jesus.
4. Do you know why Mary was so much more sensitive to the needs of Jesus than Martha?† While Martha was in the kitchen fixing his supper, Mary was in the living room feeding her soul.† We read about Mary three times in the gospels, and every time she is always at the feet of Jesus.
5. Martha was doing what she thought Jesus needed to be done, but Mary was doing what she knew Jesus wanted to be done.† Martha thought "His body needs meat," but Mary knew that his heart needed ministry.
6. You see, when you spend time with someone, you will learn what they like, what they want, what they desire, what they love, what they need.† She knew what Jesus needed because she had spent time with the Lord.† My friends, you will never know God's will for your life until you become sensitive to his will, and learn how to discern it, and you will never have that sensitivity unless you spend time with Him.†
1. Notice what the Lord says about her in v.8, "She has done what she could.† She has come beforehand to anoint My body
for burial."† Mary knew that Calvary was coming.† She knew that the time for the cross was at hand.† As a matter of fact, in one week Jesus would
be dead.† She wanted to give Jesus a
rose while he was still alive to smell it, because she knew that very soon it
would be too late to do anything for Jesus at all.
2. I want you to imagine an Easter Sunday morning.† It is dawn, the sun is just starting to rise.† Some women are making their way to the tomb of Jesus.† They are carrying some aloe, some myrrh, and some spices to anoint the body of Jesus.† These ladies did not have time to anoint his body before He died, so now they are coming to do it in honor of his death.
3. When they get to this tomb the stone is rolled away, and Jesus is gone.† There is a man sitting there in white apparel.† The ladies say, "Where is Jesus?"† He says, "Oh, Jesus is not here. †He is risen."
4. They say, "Oh, He cannot have risen yet.† We've come to anoint his body for the burial."† The angel says, "Ladies, I'm sorry, but the funeral is over.† But Jesus will be back for the celebration."
5. Now listen, if Mary had not anointed Jesus before He died, his body would never have been anointed at all.† Do you know why Mary's deed was such a great deed?† Mary not only did what she could, she did it when she could.
6. I know there are probably some people who get tired of my emphasis on evangelism, on soul-winning, on bring people to Jesus.† Do you know why I emphasize it so much?† Because there is one thing you will never be able to do once you die and leave this world.† There is one thing that no one will ever be able to do in heaven, and that is to win souls to Jesus Christ.†
7. I believe you ought to do what you can; you ought to do the best you can; you ought to do all that you can, but you had better do it while you can.
II.† SECOND, IT TAKES A SACRIFICIAL SPIRIT TO SERVE JESUS.
"And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard.† And she broke the flask and poured it on His head." (v.3)
1. Mary took some tremendously costly perfume that she had probably saved years to purchase, and poured it over the head and the feet of Jesus.† Mark used two adjectives to describe this particular ointment, this perfume called spikenard.† He used one word that literally means "genuine" to let us know that this was not some kind of "bluelight special" but it was the real thing.
2. But then he uses another word to let us know that it was extremely costly and very expensive.† It was Grade A perfume.† A vase of spikenard in that day would contain twelve full ounces and would cost over a year's salary for an average worker.† You could have taken that vase and sold it and feed hundreds and hundreds of families an entire meal.† But she broke this expensive flask and poured it onto the body of Jesus.
3. She gave her all and her very best to Jesus.† What Mary did you and I can do.† Oh, you may not be able to give as much as someone else can give, but you can give all you have, and you can give your best.† Understand today that is all God wants.† God simply wants all that you have, and the best that you have.
4. You see, God doesn't grade us on the curve.† God doesn't compare us with somebody else.† Your best may not be as much as somebody else's best.† Your best may not be as great as somebody else's best.† But if you give your best to God, then your best as far as God is concerned, will be just as great as someone else's best.† I tell you, God is more impressed with the widow's mite that He is with the Pharisee's gold.†
5. Don't you ever think for a moment that just because somebody is richer than you are, they can give more to God.† Just because someone is more educated than you are, they can do more for God.† God wants the same thing from the pauper that he wants from the prince.† He wants the same thing from the first grader that he wants from the Ph.D., and that is, their best.
6. I want to be honest with you.† You cannot serve without sacrifice.† If you are going to offer Jesus that which costs you nothing, you would be better off to offer Him nothing.† Does it cost to serve Jesus?† Absolutely.† But I think of the words of the great missionary, C. T. Studd, who said, "If Jesus Christ be God, and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.
III.† THIRD, IT TAKES A STEADFAST SPIRIT TO SERVE JESUS.
1.† Mary was thinking only of Jesus when she broke that vase and poured that perfume all over his body.† But before the last drop had hit the floor, she had to withstand a withering blast of critical fire from a hypocritical furnace.
1. "But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, 'Why was this fragrant oil wasted?† For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.'† And they criticized her sharply." (vv.4-5)† Some of the disciples were grumbling and gripping about what she had done.† It wasn't enough that the Pharisees on the outside were finding things to criticize.† Now it was the disciples on the inside.
2. I have learned that every church has a cold-water committee.† Every church has some self-appointed watchdogs who love to sit on the sidelines and gripe about the way things are done.
3. Well I want to give you fair warning.† You are never going to do anything worthwhile for Jesus without being criticized, and you will never do anything worthwhile for Jesus if you are worried about what other people are going to say.
4. I want you to notice how Mary handles the criticism.† She does a very wise thing.† She just keeps quiet and lets Jesus defend her.† I like that.† When your motives are right and your methods are pure, and you are doing what you do just because you love Jesus, you never have to explain anything to anybody.
1. Now her work was criticized by Judas, but it was commended by Jesus.† "But Jesus said, 'Let her alone.† Why do you trouble her?† She has done a good work for Me.'" (v.6)
2. Now there were two different evaluations of what Mary had done.† The disciples said, "This is a waste; this is poor judgment; this way too extravagant."† But Jesus had a different evaluation.† He said this was "a good work."† You know what that tells me.† What really matters about my life is not what others think.† What really matters is what Jesus thinks.
3. You see, if you please Jesus, it doesn't matter who you displease.
4. Now notice Jesus did not say this was a big work, or a huge work, or a famous work.† He just said it was a good work.† When you think about it, what she did was really just a little work.† It was a very small thing.†
5. Nobody outside of that house knew what Mary had done.† It didn't get her name in the paper.† As a matter of fact, everybody else in the house criticized her for what she had done.† The reason that they criticized her was because they felt what she had done was such a small stupid thing.† She poured all of that perfume out for one man when she could have done a big thing and sold it and given it to the poor.
6. Did you know that one of the greatest problems we have today in the church is that we have many people who want to do the big things, but you can't get them to do the small things.† If I were to ask for some men to volunteer to come up to the church and to be the financial watchdogs of the church, to look at every check, to count every nickel and every nose, and to make the final decision on how every dime was spent in this church, we'd have men lined up out the backdoor willing to serve.† But you couldn't get a one of them to teach a children's Sunday School class.† You can't pay them to rock a baby in the nursery.† You can't beg them to take one prospect card and go and tell somebody about Jesus.† The prophet Zechariah asked a question long ago that we ought to be asking today, "For who has despised the day of small things." (Zech. 4:10)
7. I tell you, we had better be careful not to despise the little things. Did you know that it is the little things that God uses to accomplish the big things?† He used Moses' rod to defeat the armies of Egypt.† He used David's slingshot to overcome the giant, Goliath.† He used a few loaves and a few fish to feed five thousand people.† It is not the big things that God uses, it's the small things.† The key to building a great church is not doing the big things.† Anybody can do the big things.† It's when you do the little things well that really count.†
8. You see, it's in the little things, the small things that a person's faith and faithfulness are really seen.† I heard about a man that was talking to a great big tall strapping giant of a man.† He said, "You know if I were as big and as tall and as strong as you are, I would go out into the woods and find the biggest bear I could find, and wrestle him right down to the ground."† That big man looked down at him and said, "There are plenty of little bears in the woods."
9. There are some people who say, "If I just had a million dollars I would give half of it to God."† You would not.† I tell you what, you would do the same thing with a million that you would do with a hundred.† The Christian who cannot be trusted with the little things, cannot be trusted with the big things.† Jesus said, "He who is faithful in that which is least is faithful in that which is much."† But this dear lady had a steadfast spirit.† All she cared about was Jesus.† All that mattered to her was what Jesus said, what Jesus thought, what Jesus wanted, what Jesus loved.
IV.† LASTLY, IT TAKES A SERVANTíS SPIRIT TO SERVE JESUS.
1. Notice a simple statement that Jesus made which speaks volumes about what this little lady did.† "She has done what she could." (v.8a)
2. Do you know what impressed Jesus so much about what Mary had done?† It was not so what she did, because it was really not all that big of a thing.† What really impressed Jesus was that she did what she could.
3. The only thing that Jesus expects any of us to do is what we can do.† The only thing that Jesus wants us to give is what we can give.
4. Dr. R. G. Lee, once said, "You can never do more than your duty.† But you should never wish to do less."† Maybe you cannot sing like others can sing.† Maybe you cannot teach like others can teach.† Maybe you cannot preach like others can preach.† But you can do something.† I can't do everything, but I can do something, and what I can do, I ought to do, and what I ought to do, by the grace of God I will do.
In a Sunday School class for children, the children were bringing little things together to teach the Bible.† One boy brought some water, and said that was to illustrate that "Jesus is the Water of Life."† Well another little child brought some flowers and said that was to illustrate "Jesus is the Rose of Sharon."† Another little child brought some bread and said, "that's to illustrate that Jesus is the Bread of Life."†
But one little boy brought a bantam egg.† Do you know what a banti hen is?† Just a little bitty hen.† He brought one of those little bantam eggs, and the teacher said, "Now what does that represent?"† The little fellow said, "She has done what she could."† Are you doing what you could be doing for God?
5. Yes, Jesus was impressed with what this little lady did.† He goes on to say in v.9, "Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the whole world, what this woman did will also be spoken of as a memorial to her." (v.9)† Mary had done a loving work.† You see, Mary didn't do this to impress anybody.† She didn't do it to show up her sister Martha.† She didn't do it to get it off her income tax.† She didn't even do it so Jesus would praise her.† She did it just because she loved the Lord Jesus.
1. So what does it take to serve Jesus?† It takes a sensitive, sacrificial, steadfast, and a servantís spirit to serve Jesus.
2. I hope and pray that this lesson has been beneficial to you.† We never want to close a service without offering an invitation, so if you have any needs, please come now as we stand and sing.