Summary: As we look at Mary’s anointing of Christ we have a demonstration of three rules for giving to the Lord –Giving with the right attitude; Giving the best you have; and Giving your all.
Rules for Giving
Introduction: In Deuteronomy 16:17 we read, “Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the LORD thy God which he hath given thee.” God has given to everyone of us more blessings than we can begin to count – blessings of time – talent and treasure. As we look at Mary’s anointing of Christ we have a demonstration of three rules for giving to the Lord –Giving with the right attitude; Giving the best you have; and Giving your all.
I. Give with the Right Attitude
A. It is important to have the right attitude in giving – whether it be the giving of your time, talent, or treasure.
B. In the Old Testament, giving was to be an act of gratitude for what God had done.
C. "Tithing under the Mosaic law was mandatory, giving under grace is voluntary." – Dr. M.R. DeHaan
D. Deuteronomy 12:10-11 “But when you cross over the Jordan and dwell in the land which the LORD your God is giving you to inherit, and He gives you rest from all your enemies round about, so that you dwell in safety, 11 then there will be the place where the LORD your God chooses to make His name abide. There you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings, your sacrifices, your tithes, the heave offerings of your hand, and all your choice offerings which you vow to the LORD.”
E. 2 Corinthians 9:7-9 “Every man according as he purposes in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work: (As it is written, He hath dispersed abroad; he hath given to the poor: his righteousness remains forever.”
F. Cheerful = Hilaron from which we get hilarious. God loves a hilarious giver, a happy, joyful giver. God wants a heart that is thrilled with the pleasure of giving. - copied
G. Giving should be seen as a great privilege, not a heavy burden or joyless duty.
H. John 12:3 “Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair: and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment.”
I. Mary took an alabaster flask pouring the contents of it on the head of the Lord Jesus. The flask was filled with a red-tinted ointment that was used as a perfume in embalming. It was so expensive that only the very wealthy could afford to purchase it. At today’s prices, Mary’s gift was worth more than $20,000.000.
J. Mary’s gift was not one of obligation but one that truly fits what Paul is talking about in 2 Corinthians 9. It was an act of love for Christ.
K. Giving isn’t hard if we love the object of our gift. But if we don’t love the recipient of the gift, giving is extremely difficult. (Kent Crockett, Making Today Count for Eternity, Sisters, OR: Multnomah Publishers, 2001, p. 71)
L. First-century believers gave not because they were commanded, but because they chose. The workings of the Holy Spirit inside their hearts caused them to give out of a willing heart to serve the Lord.
M. The quintessential ingredient in stewardship is possessing a proper motive.
N. 1 John 4:19 “We love Him because He first loved us.”
O. Grace teaches us that our giving is not a legal obligation, but is a blessed privilege and becomes a measure of our love for God. - copied
II. Giving the Best You Have
A. I was told that Butterball has a hotline and answers questions. A few years ago, one of the workers received a phone call early in November. The customer wanted to know if a turkey that had been frozen for over 15 years would harm you. After some searching the Butterball employee responded, that is appears that the meat of the turkey that had been kept deeply frozen for 15 years probably would not hurt you, but the flavor would be decreased. To that the caller said, “That’s what we were thinking also. That being the case we will just donate it to our church.” - copied
B. God expected and demanded the best to be offered to Him.
C. Numbers 18:29-30 “Out of all your gifts ye shall offer every heave offering of the LORD, of all the best thereof, even the hallowed part thereof out of it. Therefore thou shalt say unto them, When ye have heaved the best thereof from it, then it shall be counted unto the Levites as the increase of the threshing-floor, and as the increase of the winepress.”