Summary: A message prepared for Memorial day, with a call to discern what legacy you are leaving.
What Will You Be Remembered by?
* In 1915, inspired by the poem "In Flanders Fields," Moina Michael wrote these words;
“We cherish too, the Poppy red, That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies, That blood of heroes never dies.”
* This is what Memorial Day is all about. We pay tribute, respect, and honor to those soldiers who gave their lives so that we can be free. Never forget, ‘freedom is never free.’ Someone, somewhere, at sometime bought our freedom. And the price for freedom is innocent blood. We remember and honor our heroes for their sacrifice to buy our civil freedom.
* In this same way, we need to never forget that it was the innocent blood of the ‘Carpenter of Nazareth’ and the Son of God who purchased our spiritual freedom. We were dead in sin, without hope of heaven because God won’t allow sin in His heaven, when Jesus shed His innocent blood for us. It is only in the response to His call that we can receive grace & be free. Jesus.
* After receiving Jesus in a personal way, we are called to live a life that honors Him. Our desire becomes that people remember us by our love for Him. Today we see a lady who shows us exactly how to do this.
* This lady was Mary, the sister of Lazarus. She was the sister of Lazarus’ whose famous words, “Lord, if you had only been here, my brother would have not died” have been spoken many times. These words were like a knife to the heart of Jesus, yet Jesus saw through Mary’s hurt (losing her brother) to her need (grow in her faith). In our passage we see Mary’s devotion to the Lord, which was already strong, had been multiplied when she Jesus gave her back her brother. Now, she was totally devoted to Him and wanted her life to be known or remembered by her devotion. Jesus said that she would be remembered by this selfless act of devotion.
* It has been said that we write our funeral message by the life we live. If that is the case, please consider what message are you leaving? Exactly, what is it that people will remember you for? Those who died on the field of battle are remembered for their heroism and sacrifice. Mary is remembered for the lavish gift she gave to & the complete devotion she expressed for Jesus.
* From our text, let’s categorize 4 possibilities for us to be remembered.
1. By my selfless approach – We clearly read that she ‘approached’ Jesus, but why is this selfless? I submit that a woman in that day, breaking into a male meal would take courage. Yet, we find Mary in the room risking what we may not ever understand because she wanted to honor Jesus for all that He had done for her and her family. She was unashamed to let everyone know of her devotion to Jesus. I dare say that she wanted the men around to table to know that HE was her Lord.
What will you be remembered by – Pg 2
* Selflessness is uncommon in the 21st century. It saddens me to say, but even within the body of Christ in America this attribute remains at a premium. The American way seems to be ‘get all you can while you can and have your way every day.’ Candidly, being selfish is vogue. Like so many things, the ways of this world are in direct opposition to the ways of our Lord. Mary gives us a crystal clear view of how to come to Jesus with complete abandon, totally selfless, and wholly devoted. To come in this manner is to make it all about Him. I submit that too often we are so consumed with self that we have difficulty being consumed with the Savior. Additionally, when we get consumed with the Savior, we take on His passions, which are to focus on others, those who are yet to come.
* I read this story about an old man showed up at the back door of the house we were renting. Opening the door a few cautious inches, we saw his eyes were glassy and his furrowed face glistened with silver stubble. He clutched a wicker basket holding a few unappealing vegetables. He bid us good morning and offered his produce for sale. We were uneasy enough that we made a quick purchase to alleviate both our pity and our fear. To our chagrin, he returned the next week, introducing himself as Mr. Roth, the man who lived in the shack down the road. As our fears subsided, we got close enough to realize it wasn't alcohol but cataracts that marbleized his eyes. On subsequent visits, he would shuffle in, wearing two mismatched right shoes, and pull out a harmonica. With glazed eyes set on a future glory, he'd puff out old gospel tunes between conversation about vegetables and religion. On one visit, he exclaimed, "The Lord is so good! I came out of my shack this morning and found a bag full of shoes and clothing on my porch". That's wonderful, Mr. Roth!" we said. "We're happy for you." "You know what's even more wonderful?" he asked. "Just yesterday I met some people that could use them.