Supplies: journal or index cards, paper, Bible, pen
Today's study takes us from extravagant worship to intimate betrayal; from sacrificial generosity to insatiable greed. As you read and pray today, consider the place money plays in your life. Do you use it to serve Christ's purpose or do you hoard it to serve your own?
As Jesus was eating with friends, a woman came with a jar of very expensive imported perfume made from pure nard. The cost of the perfume was about a year’s worth of wages. To put it in today’s terms, think of your entire year’s salary being poured out on Jesus’ head in one lavish offering. The disciples were angry and didn’t see the gift as an offering, but as a wasteful, impulsive act. The extravagant generosity of the woman illuminated their own selfish desires and they cloaked their guilt and shame by expressing concern that the gift could have been better used in other ways. But as Jesus saw through their words and into their hearts, He affirmed the woman’s gift and expressed appreciation and love for her willingness to give so selflessly. This sacrificial act of worship given from a heart of love and devotion was the most important thing she could have done with this perfume.
How do you worship Jesus? Do you give extravagantly from what is most valuable or do you tend to give what is leftover and easily replaced? Our greatest acts of worship come from a place of selflessness. Take three index cards or three pieces of paper. Write the words, "Talents," "Time," and "Treasures" at the top of each one. On one side of the card write an example of the types of gifts you typically give in that category. Then flip the card or paper over and write what it would look like if you began to worship extravagantly through giving in each of these areas.
Think about all the time Judas spent with Jesus. Consider all of the amazing miracles he had seen Jesus do. Yet, even knowing what he knew and seeing what he had seen, he still betrayed Jesus for 30 coins.
Martin Luther King said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.” You may not betray Jesus for 30 pieces of silver, but how often have you been silent when you have seen injustice? How often have you been quiet when others dishonor the God you love?
Sit for a moment and consider the times your silence has been a betrayal of what you believe and who God is. Then, out loud, say the words to this prayer of confession.
Most merciful God,
I confess that I have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what I have done,
and by what I have left undone.
I have not loved you with my whole heart;
I have not loved my neighbors as myself.
I am truly sorry and I earnestly repent.
For the sake of your Son Jesus Christ,
have mercy on me and forgive me;
that I may delight in your will,
and walk in your ways,
to the glory of your Name. Amen.