Summary: But part of stewardship is motive. Yes, giving is part of stewardship, but what is needed is not a rulebook telling us what to give, how much to give, by what means we give. What is needed is a heart that is right with Jesus.
Video: The Power of Giving (1:29 min) (Available on SermonCentral.com)
What Every Christian Needs to Know About Stewardship: Stewardship in church terms has always meant giving. But over the last few weeks we have looked at stewardship meaning so much more. We established that all we have is from God and as such we are stewards of God’s things, and as stewards, we will all give an account to God of those things we managed. the fact is one day, when I enter glory and my eyes see Jesus for the first time, the biggest reward I could ever have to hear my Lord say:
Matthew 25:21 & 23 (NKJV) ‘Well done, good and faithful servant . . . enter into the joy of your lord.’
But part of stewardship is motive. Yes, giving is part of stewardship, but what is needed is not a rulebook telling us what to give, how much to give, by what means we give. What is needed is a heart that is right with Jesus.
We live in a world fraught with causes to support. Yet the point of stewardship isn’t about causes, important as they may be. Jesus surprised his disciples with this principle. [This story we are going to read in a moment is] The story of Mary and the expensive perfume found in John, Mark and Matthew is one example.
During a visit to the home of Simon the Leper, a woman emerges with a year’s wages worth of precious perfume and pours it on Jesus. Some of the disciples grumbled, imagining all it could have accomplished for the poor. But Jesus wanted to focus their attention on the heart of the giver. This woman showed her deep love for Jesus through the use of her resources. The disciples missed the point. When we make God our highest priority, our desire is to honor him, this releases a spirit of love, which releases resources to meet real needs. You see - Stewardship Is About The Heart, Not Causes.
John 12:1–8 (NKJV)
I was told that Butterball has a hotline and answers questions. A few years ago, before Thanksgiving, 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.”
That may sound funny, but unfortunately, this is all too common. The Church, The Body of Christ all too often gets our left overs and not our best.Today as we look at this story about Mary anointing the feet of Jesus, we will also consider the parallel account in Mark 14. The is the same account in Matthew 26. There is a very similar account in the Luke 7 but it was in another time and place.
According to Mark, the story takes place at the home of Simon the Leper, or should we say the former leper. Jesus must have had, at some point, healed Simon because there is no such thing as former lepers other than what Jesus healed. Also lepers never mixed with non-leprous people.
John 12:1–2 (NKJV) Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. 2 There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him.
The timing of this meal is very significant. It was on Saturday evening after sunset and the sabbath was over. Passover was in the next week which means by Friday, Jesus will be hanging on a cross. The next day was Sunday, when Jesus make His triumphal entry into Jerusalem. The anointing by Mary could be seen as the anointing of the King. However, also significant, at some point before this meal, a few days perhaps a week or two earlier, Jesus had raised Lazarus from the dead.
I want deviate for a moment to point out Martha in this verse. “and Martha served” You remember Martha. Sister to Lazarus and Mary. In Luke 10:38-42, you can read the story, Martha complained to Jesus about how Mary wasn’t helping out in the serving. What a contrast here, she is serving happily with no complaints. We often belittle Martha, but her gift is service, and she is happy to serve so others can hear Jesus. We all need Martha’s just to function. We had a kitchen full of Martha’s yesterday, serving a family that was grieving after a funeral. They served a beautiful time of fellowship, ministering in way I could never do. Martha’s act of worship was serving. Martha was doing what she did best. It takes the Martha’s working in the background to make it all happen for the glory of God. Now let’s move to Mary.