Daily Devotion for March 17, 2017

'Mary of Bethany'

Luke 10:38-40a NIV
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.

John 12:1-4
Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then 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.
But one of his disciples...objected...

(Today's message was inspired by points made through an Awana leader book...)

What was the greatest gift you ever received? Maybe you recall a favorite present you received for Christmas or for your birthday. Or maybe it was the birth of a child, or the moment you trusted Jesus as your Savior. Whatever gift comes to mind, understand that it was the result of some sort of sacrifice offered by the giver—a sacrifice given out of love. And often that sacrifice makes the gift that much sweeter.

Mary of Bethany is a woman who loved and treasured her Savior—and one who demonstrated her love for Him through giving sacrificial gifts to her Lord. In John 10, she gave her Savior the sacrificial gift of her ears—that is, she stopped everything she was doing (and everything others thought she should be doing!) so she could sit “at the Lord’s feet listening to what He said.” Later, Mary demonstrated the depth of her love through the sacrificial gift of anointing her Savior. Through this act, she sacrificed financially (the perfume was worth as much as a year's wages) as well as socially (washing the feet of guests was the duty of the lowest servant, and a woman loosing her hair could be considered as scandalous). This gifting demonstrated Mary was not concerned what others thought of her: she desired only to show honor and love to her Savior—her greatest treasure. In addition, Mary's anointing of Jesus was her way to lovingly SERVE Him. This woman served Him by giving Him the first and best of what she had. Her serving came from a humble and willing heart, and it was a beautiful gift for the Savior because it was completed as a loving act of worship...

Beloved, I pray today we each consider the treasure we have in Christ—and may our love for Him cause us to be sacrificial givers...1) daily giving Him the gift of our ears and attention, 2) financially giving for His Kingdom, and 3) giving Him the first and best of our time, efforts, talents and energy in service, however we are led to serve.

Lord: may we increasingly become a people who wonderfully demonstrate our love for You as Mary did—with humble, sacrificial gifts that please and honor You—our greatest treasure...


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