Summary: An examination of the worship of the woman who anointed Jesus’ head with oil.
Sermon # 2
“What Part Does Giving Play In Worship?”
In our first message on worship I gave you the definition that Louie Giglio gives for worship in his book “The Air I Breathe.” He said,
Both personal and corporate
To God –
For who He is!
And what He has done!
Expressed in and by things we say
And the way we live.
[Louie Giglio. The Air I Breathe. (Sisters:Oregon, Multnomah, 2003) p. 12]
Building on that foundation I think that it fitting today that we discuss, “What Part Does Our Giving Play In Worship?” Giving to the church can be one of the most rewarding parts of being in a church family, but many people don’t know the joy that can come from sacrificing time and money for a higher cause. According to Christianity.com in a typical church 25% of the church gives 90% of the weekly offering. So how does all of this relate to our worship? In our last message on worship we noted that we are all worshippers – you may choose not to worship God but you do worship something. Worship is our response to whatever we value the most. We need to consider that what we offer to God is an expression of who we are and what we value most in life. If you want to know what I truly believe and what I am most committed to you don’t have to ask me – just examine my calendar. Notice where I spend my time, take a look at my checkbook, look at where my money is going, look at what I invest my money in. John Piper in his book, “Desiring God” writes, “Money is the currency of the kingdom of God. What you do with it – or desire to do with it- can make or break your happiness forever.”
I think that is significant that in the Old Testament worship was almost always accompanied by a sacrifice. We are told in Proverbs 3:9 to, “Honor the LORD with your substance and with the first fruits of your increase.” Yet today we often think that our giving has nothing to do with our worship and nothing could be farther from the truth. In Ezekiel 33:31 the Lord says, “So they come pretending to be sincere and sit before you listening. But they have no intention of doing what I tell them. They express love with their mouths, but their hearts seek only money.” (NLT)
Some of us approach the matter of money and church like the man who wanted to buy his wife a gift. “After being away on business, Tim thought it would be nice to bring his wife a little gift. So he stopped in at a department story. He asked the cosmetic clerk, “How about some perfume?” She showed him a bottle costing $50.00. “That’s a bit much,” he said, so she returned with a smaller bottle that cost $30.00. “That’s still quite a bit,” he complained. Growing annoyed, the clerk brought him the tiny $15.00 bottle. “What I mean,” he said, “is I want something really cheap.” The clerk handed him a mirror.” Some times that is our approach to God, we want to see how little we can get by with.
This morning I want us to look at one of the most beautiful and awe inspiring pictures of worship recorded in the New Testament. This worship did not revolve around a particular style of music or a ritual of any kind. It is that story of one woman who risked everything to worship Jesus. Her story is so important that it is recorded in all four gospel accounts (Luke 7:36-50, Matt. 26:6-13, John 12:2-8).
We will look at the account in Mark 14:3-9,
“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. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. (4) But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, "Why was this fragrant oil wasted? (5) "For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they criticized her sharply.(6) But Jesus said, "Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.(7) "For you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish you may do them good; but Me you do not have always. (8)"She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial. (9)"Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her."