What a time of worship and preaching, connecting, and resting! Refresh 2022 brought over 130 InFaith missionaries, staff, and trustees to the beautiful Black Mountains of North Carolina last week.
Recognizing that missionaries sacrificially serve in difficult places, our speaker for the conference, John Wood of Knoxville, TN, shared with us how Mary’s anointing of Jesus at Bethany had significance for Mary, Jesus, the disciples, and, specifically, us. How do we approach a holy God? How do we respond to the presence of Jesus Christ? The disciples were counting the costs of serving Him. At that point, many of the disciples would follow Jesus as long as it served their own specific goals and agenda. Mary, on the other hand, gave everything. The anointing she offered represented her most valued and valuable possession. This was her dowry, her help for a rainy day, her hedge against poverty, and her ability to someday move out of her brother’s home and out from under her sister’s authority. But rather than measure out a reasonable amount of nard, she broke the jar (breaking the bank) and poured out all that she had to anoint Jesus for burial.
Those of us called to follow Jesus in vocational ministry have the same question to answer that Mary and the disciples did. Why do we follow? Do we serve Him to serve ourselves? Do we serve Him as our highest good—willing to surrender everything for Him? Do we measure out our service in reasonable and incremental amounts or do we serve Him with abandon? Today we know, even more clearly than Mary did, that Jesus is worthy of our everything. He created us, lived the life that we should have lived and died the death that we deserve so that we could live with Him forever. His merit entitles Him to the praise of all creation. There is nothing we can give to the Lord that He doesn’t deserve. So then, do we hold back or go all in? Judas wanted to hold back. Mary was all in. How about us?