What is your focus during the season of Lent and celebration of Easter? Honestly, have preparations for Easter been more secular than sacred in your heart and home? Family talks have surely included plans for long anticipated holidays away from work and school. Yet, has it been difficult to squeeze time into hectic schedules to talk about our Savior who gave His life as the ultimate sacrifice for our sins? Are we including plans for praise, worship, prayer time, and serving the Savior by helping others during the days of celebrating Easter?
Excuses for putting Jesus on the back burner never pan out. God knows our motives and messes we will encounter when we allow things of the world to crowd Him out of our lives. Including Him first in our plans is pleasing to our heavenly Father. Sharing His Word and ways while serving Him lovingly wherever we go gives joy on our journeys. Being courageous and passionate about an intimate relationship with Christ can encourage others to become a close friend of Jesus too!
However, Satan plunders hearts and homes with devious plans to extinguish passion for Christ, plant fear, and point God’s children to a path of hatred, apathy, sinful living, and horror filled (not happily) ever after in the fiery furnace of Hell…where God is not!
During this Holy season of Easter, let us pray for people’s lives to be touched and hearts opened to accept Jesus as Savior (to repent, seek revival, re-new relationships) and serve Him with passion and purpose. Passing on God’s love while preparing for Heaven and happiness forever and ever ensures a priceless, precious endless life we can only imagine - complete with welcoming Home banquet and family reunion beyond anything we can fathom. I don’t want to miss Heaven…how about you? When we all get to Heaven what a time of rejoicing it will be; we will sing and shout the victory and live for eternity…where God is!
The woman at Bethany is one of the first women of the Bible I want to talk with when God calls me Home. I won’t know her name, but surely Jesus or my loved ones gone before me will help find her. This nameless woman bravely walked into Simon’s house and interrupted an all-male gathering to honor Jesus. She walked up to Jesus, broke a flask of expensive oil, poured it on His head, and anointed Him. Jesus understood the woman’s love for Him without regard for what it cost. He saw the genuine love and gratitude behind her offering of devotion. However, His disciples did not grasp the significance of what was happening to the One who was about to drink from the cup and die on the cross. Judas even scoffed her act of love as one of wasting money on expensive oil to anoint Jesus when it could have been given to the poor.
Jesus told his closest friends that there would always be poor among them to help, but His divine words went right over their heads. Oh, that each of you reading this could have heard my pastor (Ray Ammons) preach about Jesus and this woman’s sacrifices. His sermon inspired me to write this story and to search my own heart (as I encourage you to search yours) as we serve Christ courageously and help others selflessly. And if you are not in a Bible believing, passion filled church, I encourage you to pray about it and find a church home where you can grow in faithful service and enjoy fellowship among believers. Just walk right in the church of your choice courageously and God will take care of the rest. He did that for the nameless woman who interrupted the meeting with His disciples.
The woman at Bethany walked right in, sat right down, and let her long hair down. Then, she began the process of anointing Jesus’ body with the expensive oil in preparation for burial. What Jesus understood, they could not! What the disciples criticized, Jesus upheld as a sacrificial act of love.
He said that, “Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her”. Matthew 26:13
In this story of the woman at Bethany, and often when we serve Jesus, the sacrifice outlives the one who sacrifices. Yet, we know courageously and faithfully loving Him, honoring HIs greatest commandment, living by His example, and serving Him out loud with passion and purpose gets God’s attention and a reserved spot in Heaven.
Though people may never know our name and here we receive no fame, we will live happily and honorably without playing Satan’s game. And when we are still and know He is God as we gaze into the starry sky…we can rest assured we, along with King David, are the apples of His eye!