Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. (1 Tim. 6:17-18)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Are You Doing Noble Things For Jesus?

Photo by andrewrennie
An Expensive, Sacrificial Act

A precious, expensive, personal item was brought to the place where Jesus was staying. The container for this expensive item was broken. The valuable contents were poured out and offered to Jesus.

Then, the complaints came. "This was a huge waste of money." "This item could have been sold and the money given to the poor." Even those closest to Jesus questioned this expensive, sacrificial act.

To what act am I referring? In Mark 14:3-9, we read the story about the Alabaster Jar:
While He was in Bethany at the house of Simon who had a serious skin disease, as He was reclining at the table, a woman came with an alabaster jar of pure and expensive fragrant oil of nard. She broke the jar and poured it on His head. But some were expressing indignation to one another: “Why has this fragrant oil been wasted? For this oil might have been sold for more than 300 denarii and given to the poor.” And they began to scold her. 
Then Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why are you bothering her? She has done a noble thing for Me. You always have the poor with you, and you can do what is good for them whenever you want, but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could; she has anointed My body in advance for burial. I assure you: Wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told in memory of her.”
A Noble Thing

Jesus' response to the critics of this woman: leave her alone. She has done a noble thing!

In this response from Jesus, He chose a couple of interesting words - "noble thing." In the context of this passage, the word "noble" refers to being beautiful, virtuous, excellent, precious, and praiseworthy. The word "thing" translated in this verse carries the idea of work, labor, employment, or any product accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind.

So, let's piece the meanings of these words together. Essentially, Jesus is saying that this woman produced an excellent, praiseworthy labor of love. Yes, this fragrant oil could have been sold at a very high price and the money given to the poor. But, Jesus was about to be sacrificed for the sins of the whole world and then taken back to Heaven. This woman made the best possible use of the product in the most excellent way. She anointed His body for burial. She indeed did a noble thing.

What Excellent Work Are You Pursuing?

So, what excellent, noble things are you pursuing these days? Do you currently have an excellent labor of love that you're preparing to offer in service to the Lord? Do you own an expensive item sitting on the shelf that could possibly be used in a more praiseworthy manner for the Kingdom of God?

Have you been saving something for a rainy day that could be used for an excellent work for God? Have you been holding on to something of great value waiting to use it for selfish purposes?

Whatever you have of value that could be used for noble things, why not re-evaluate it's current use? Maybe, it's being used for common things. Maybe, it's not being used at all. Pray to the Lord and ask Him how you could use it for His noble, Kingdom purposes.

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