Monday, May 14, 2012

Jesus is Anointed with Nard Oil (Giving our Best to the Lord)

Today's Reading:
  • Mark 14:1 - 21
  • Psalm 51:1 - 19
Read Bible Passages Online

Mark 14:1 - 21
Today's short passage starts with the preparation plans for the Passover meal.  The disciples asked Jesus where they should go to have the meal prepared.  Jesus gave them a set of exact directions that included following a man who was carrying a pitcher of water to a house and asking the owner of that house for use of a room that would already be prepared.  The disciples followed the directions of Jesus and found everything as they were told.  The preparations for the meal then began.

While the meal was being prepared, a woman anointed Jesus with a very expensive perfume made from the essence of nard.  She poured the entire bottle over his head, much to the indignation of some of the disciples.  They were angry because the bottle, if sold, would have paid a year's worth of wages.  That money, they said, could instead be used to help the poor.

Jesus rebuked the disciples, telling them that the poor would always be among them and could be helped whenever, but Jesus would soon not be among them.  She had also, unbeknownst to her, prepared his body for burial.

I sometimes feel guilty for having all my needs met, all my bills paid, having dependable vehicles to drive, buying something I want, or taking an occasional vacation.  I do tithe, I do give to Christian charities and focus the base of my giving on the poor -- those without homes, those without food, those without basic health care.  I quite enjoy being able to be a blessing to others.

I also wonder, however -- am I supposed to sell it all at once, to give it all to the poor, and move on -- become poor myself and be done with it?  I know Jesus has commanded this of others (Matthew 19:21).  It's a constant battle in my mind.  It's also a question I won't be able to answer until I've read the entire bible through.  I'm a little over one-sixth of the way through, so I still have a long way to go!

I do know, however, that I would not be able to follow my current calling (this blog) if I cut everything down to bare necessities.  I have been there, living in homes that we didn't belong in, lacking food and basic necessities.  I felt lost, I felt like I could never do anything with my life.  Without internet, without a computer, without time -- I wouldn't be able to do what I'm doing today.  I wouldn't be able to give my best to Jesus in this way.

I am certain that if I were back in that situation that the Lord would find another way for me to work for Him, a way that is within means.  This, however, is what I'm called for now.  So for now, until I finish my studies and decide what the bible says to me, I will help the poor always -- and they will always be there to helped.  But at the same time, I will give my best to Jesus, just as the woman who anointed Jesus did -- I will work at spreading His word to the world, in hopes of softening someone's -- anyone's -- heart towards the Lord.

Psalm 51:1 - 19
In this psalm David begs for forgiveness for committing adultery with Bathsheba.  David pleads for the Lord to restore his broken spirit, to look upon his repentant heart and see that he truly is sorry for what he has done.  Verse 51:12 speaks out to me:
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.
In all the times I have prayed to the Lord, I don't think I've ever prayed for Him to make me willing to do something.  I've always prayed that the Lord's will be done, whatever the situation, but never have I prayed Him to change my own will.

When I read that it occurred to me that I could -- and should -- pray to the Lord that He change my will.  The Lord gave me free will, and with my free will I choose the Lord, wholeheartedly.  So why not allow the Lord to change my will so that I can become closer to Him?

Lord, I thank you for allowing me to retain my free will.  Since it is my free will, it is my choice -- and my choice is YOU, Lord.  I pray now that you take the will you gave to me.  I am returning it to you, so that you can do with it what you see fit.  So that you can keep me in alignment with your own will.  So that I can walk closer to you, Lord.  It is now yours -- please take my will and return it to me, infused with YOUR will, Lord.  May YOUR will be done through me Lord, forever.  Amen.

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