More than all Burnt Offerings and Sacrifices

Mark 12:33-34
“Well said, teacher,” the man replied. “You are right in saying that God is one and there is no other but him. 33To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength, and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”

While we no longer literally offer burnt offerings and sacrifices we still do it in type. Many times I might rather love my neighbor, whoever that might be, from a distance rather than up close and personal. Just allow me donate some money for their cause, or pray for them, anything, but don’t make me become personally involved in their lives. Most of us like our own space and some of us like to be around friends and family, but even that has its limitations. How much time do I have for my neighbor, those people that I encounter in my daily life, business or work? Many times we might think to ourselves, “You know, I have enough problems of my own, I don’t need to get involved with someone else’s.” If we love ourselves enough to care about our problems, our needs, our wants, desires and goals in life, then aren’t we mandated to care about the similar needs of others as well?
Most of us would agree that in a world where every time you turn around someone wants to sell you something or ask you to contribute something we begin to become rather cold and callused. We build these walls to try and keep these people out. It is true, we can’t be everything to everybody and we do only have so many resources, still, are we loving our neighbor as ourselves? All of the things that I do for me, am I willing to do them for someone else? Personally, I am not a real people person and the majority of the time I am quite content and comfortable to be by myself, doing my own thing, but can I really love my neighbor as myself from that position. Loving others is always stretching us. It causes us to move out of our comfort zone. It causes us to come out of the place of just making the token efforts of the burnt offerings and sacrifices and requires me to get involved. Jesus was involved with those around him and not just with the upper crust, the easy to get along with, the likeable or the ones that could benefit Him. He was relating to humanity at all levels, classes, sexes and races. He would relate with children and adults alike, to the whole and the broken, rich and the poor and to the sinner and the righteous. Jesus was not a respecter of persons and He was sensitive to the heart cry of people. There are a lot of people out there that just want to take advantage and use others. This tends to make us wary and cynical, but the Lord wants us to tune into the heart cry of others. Listen, by the Spirit to the real need in people. It often isn’t what we see being portrayed on the outside or in their actions. We need a spirit of sensitivity, not to be duped by everyone that comes along, but to see into the heart need of others.
As the ambassadors and representatives of Christ in this earth we are the channels of God’s blessing, healing, restoration and reconciliation. If we don’t take the time and make the time for the needs of others, then who will. If I want someone to love me, be sensitive to my needs and to just care then that is the love I need to be extending to others in whatever capacity I have to give it. It isn’t the religious gestures that I make and the token giving that the Lord is looking for. He is looking for my heart to be one with His heart in me. He desires me to love Him through the way I love others, through a heart that is really caring and concerned for the needs of others. So often we are like the Scribe, the Pharisee, “the Christian”, who walks to the other side of the road when we see our neighbor in need. We don’t want the inconvenience and the investment of our time and resources to get involved. If my neighbor is important to the Lord, then they have to become my priority also. We have to remember that our mission in the earth is not about us, it is about Him through the way that we serve others. Loving God and loving our neighbor are all part of the same pie.
“Lord, give us sensitive hearts and eyes to see into the real needs of others and to make ourselves available and willing to minister to those needs in what ever way we can. Give us your heart to really love others as we would love ourselves, not from a distance, but up close and personal. Help us to truly be the extension of your compassion, love and grace. May the world truly know us by our love and not just by our name and religion. Allow us to be willing to pay the price of the personal sacrifice required in the giving of ourselves and that which cost us personally to love You with all of our hearts; to love our neighbors as ourselves, no matter who they may be.”

Blessings,
#kent

Washing His Feet with Tears

November 8, 2013

Washing His Feet with Tears

Isaiah 52:7
How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

There are many that have carried and shared the gospel of good news, but there is none to compare with the author and giver of salvation itself, Jesus. His feet are the most beautiful and wonderful of all. He stepped down out of heaven as the Son of God and Lord of all and walked the dusty roads of earth to fully reveal God to us and to turn our feet into the way of salvation and life. It was His feet that walked the walk of the cross; that carried that bruised and wounded and horribly afflicted body to the ultimate sacrifice. It was His feet that stumbled and struggled under the weight of that cross that He bore for us. Never were there more beautiful feet than the feet that bear the hole from the spike that was driven through them.
There was a woman named Mary who had a revelation of how precious these feet were. They had walked into her life when she was nothing more than a shame and usable commodity of men, despised and looked down upon by most. When she had been cast down at His feet, He did not judge and condemn her, though He had every right to do so. He loved her and forgave her when she was the most unlovely and undesirable. He gave her back a life of dignity, respect and purpose. I don’t think there is another example in the Word of God that demonstrates the love, the submission, the feelings of appreciation and gratitude like the act of Mary. While she couldn’t love Jesus with physical intimacy, she so expressed the intimacy for Him and the love for Him she felt in herself through an act of worship that natural men couldn’t understand and even despised.
John 12:1-7 tells us, “Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. 3Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
4But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5″Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief; as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.
7″Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. ” It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial. 8You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
In this story we see the scene taking place in Bethany where Lazarus lived and where Martha was serving. Mary was their sister. In Luke 7 we see the same event happening only it is described as taking place in the house of Simon the Pharisee. Perhaps Simon was the father of Lazarus, Martha and Mary and that would explain why Mary had access into the house in the first place. I’m sure not any woman of the street was allowed to come in. This account in Luke 7:36-50 reads like this,” 36Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. 37When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume, 38and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”
40Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”
“Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41″Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.”
“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”
49The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.””
This woman could have been, and I believe is, what exemplifies the love of the bride for the bridegroom. She loves much, because she was forgiven much. Her tears flow from a heart of tremendous gratitude and worship. She uses her hair, which is her glory, to glorify the Savior and to wipe the feet of Jesus. She kisses His feet expressing her deepest affection and her unreserved submission. She breaks and pours out upon the feet of Jesus her most precious material possession as she anoints Him from her body, her soul and her spirit. Truly if there were an act of spiritual worship and expression, she demonstrated it that day. She didn’t care what anyone else thought or how they were going to view her or think of her. She only had eyes and a heart for Jesus. She demonstrated for all of us what it is to sit and bow at the feet of Jesus and not just be ministered too, but how to serve, love and appreciate Him. Most only knew how take from the love and virtue of Jesus, but here is the least of women, the outcast of society that demonstrates how to minister, serve and give back love to the One who first loved her. How much we can all learn about ministering at the feet of Jesus through this woman, Mary. Jesus used this moment to show us the difference between the religious protocol and outward service compared to the unabashed expression of a heart that loved and yearned for Him. A heart that was willing to give the best of all she was or had to glorify and love Jesus. What kind of heart do we have for the Lord? How do we minister and worship at the feet of Jesus?

Blessings,
kent

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