Is It Worth It?
I’m frugal. I’m the bargain-shopper that my mother raised me to be. It’s not like I don’t like spending money. I just really like saving money.
Before any big purchase, I spend days (sometimes weeks!) comparing different brands and options to see if I can get a similar value for a lower cost. Before making the final purchase I always ask myself, “Is this worth it?”
While I am often very proud of my bargain shopping, one place where I don’t want to count costs or look for a better deal is in my walk with Christ. Walking with Christ often requires different kinds of sacrifice. Whether it be our finances, free time, personal plans, or social status, there are many things we may need to fully surrender to Christ. When I know I need to surrender something to the Lord, I might ask myself, is it worth it?
Mark 14:3-9 is the account of Jesus’ anointing at Bethany. An unnamed woman pours a flask of pure nard over Jesus’ head. In other words, this woman used an entire year’s worth of wages in very expensive oil to glorify Christ as her King and Savior. Some sitting around the table are furious about what they’ve just seen:
Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly (Mark 14:4-5 NLT).
But Jesus doesn’t scold her.
But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? … Wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed” (Mark 14:6,9).
This was a beautiful, sacrificial act of worship, exalting Jesus as the Messiah, that we still talk about today! But it came at a very high cost. She didn’t use just some of the oil. She didn’t try to do just enough to get by. She spared no expense when it came to Jesus.
Are we willing to do the same with our lives? Maybe we’re afraid to give our lives fully to Christ because we’re afraid of looking foolish. When we make sacrifices to honor Christ, others may not understand. Just like those at the table in Bethany, they might think of it as a waste of time, money, or energy. But Christ says:
“If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him” (John 14:23).
When we love God and live for Him, we get to spend eternity with Him. We can spend days, weeks, and even years trying to replace a relationship with Christ with the things of this world, but in this case, there is nothing of similar value for a lower cost. No better deal exists!
Father God, teach us to worship and honor You as You deserve without worrying about what it will cost us. Give us the wisdom and strength to lay down the things of this world at Your feet and to walk in right relationship with You, regardless of what the world may think of us for doing so.
“You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever” (Psalms 16:11).
Finding Peace in Calamity
SCRIPTURE READING — HABAKKUK 3:17-19
Though . . . the fields produce no food . . . yet I will rejoice in the Lord . . . in God my Savior.
After watching the daily news, our media listener Natasha shot us a note: “How can I find peace and joy in the midst of what’s going on today?”
Perhaps you find yourself asking the same question as you follow the news or receive a worrisome personal update. How do you respond to bad news and reports of trouble and struggle in so many places? What happens to your walk with the Lord?
Today we turn to one of the most powerful affirmations of faith in all of Scripture. Faced with news of an upcoming war, the prophet Habakkuk anticipates food shortages and hunger throughout the land. But in the face of such calamity, he declares that he will still rejoice in God his Savior. External circumstances are not going to stop him from finding personal peace and joy in the Lord.
As Christians, we can rejoice in the midst of the most challenging circumstances because of Jesus’ death and resurrection. Even in the toughest of times—such as having to look death in the face—we know that nothing “will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:39).
In the midst of bad news and hard times, never forget that God loves us, no matter what. By his Spirit he comforts us. He is always in full control of our lives. That joyful reality gives us peace even in the most difficult of times.
Lord, thank you for being with us always! Give us strength to rejoice in you, no matter what troubles we face. Amen.
The solar eclipse
By: Charles Spurgeon
“I form the light, and create darkness.” Isaiah 45:7
Suggested Further Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:1-10
Since God has made the ecliptic, or the circle, the great rule of nature, it is impossible but that eclipses should occur. Now, did you ever notice that in providence the circle is God’s rule still. The earth is here to-day; it will be in the same place this day next year; it will go round the circle; it gets no further. It is just so in providence. God began the circle of his providence in Eden. That is where he will end. There was a paradise on earth, when God began his providential dealings with mankind; there will be a paradise at the end. It is the same with your providence. Naked you came forth from your mother’s womb, and naked you must return to the earth. It is a circle. Where God has begun, there will he end; and as God has taken the rule of the circle in providence, as well as in nature, eclipses must be sure to occur. Moving in the predestined orbit of divine wisdom, the eclipse is absolutely and imperatively necessary in God’s plan of government. Troubles must come; afflictions must befall; it must needs be that for a season you should be in heaviness, through manifold temptations. But I have said, that eclipses must also occur in grace, and it is so. God’s rule in grace is still the circle. Man was originally pure and holy; that is what God’s grace will make him at last. He was pure when he was made by God in the garden. That is what God shall make him, when he comes to fashion him like unto his own glorious image, and present him complete in heaven. We begin our piety by denying the world, by being full of love to God; we often decline in grace, and God will bring us back to the state in which we were when we first began.
For meditation: This sermon was occasioned by the anticipation of the solar eclipse on the following day. Meditate on the significance of the most important solar eclipse in all history. Remember this was not an astronomical eclipse, since it occurred at Passover—full moon (Luke 23:44-46)!
Present privilege and future favour
‘The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms: and he shall thrust out the enemy from before thee; and shall say, Destroy them.’ Deuteronomy 33:27
Suggested Further Reading: Hebrews 13:8,20–21
I wish you to notice those two words which are the pith of the text. ‘The eternal God,’ ‘everlasting arms.’ The eternal God.’ Here is antiquity. The God who was before all worlds is for ever my God. O how I love that word ‘eternal;’ but, brethren and sisters, there are some people who do not believe in an eternal God, at any rate they do not believe in him as being theirs eternally. They do not believe that they belonged to Christ before they were born; they have a notion that they only had God to be theirs when they believed on him for the first time. They do not believe in covenant settlements, and eternal decrees, and the ancient purposes of the Most High; but let me say that for comfort, there is no thought more full of sweetness than that of an eternal God engaged in Christ Jesus to his people; to love, and bless, and save them all. One who has made them the distinguished objects of his discriminating regard from all eternity, it is the eternal God. And then there are the ‘everlasting arms,’ arms that will never flag, arms that will never grow weary, arms that will never lose their strength. Then put the two words ‘eternal’ and ‘everlasting’ together, and they remind us of another sweet word—unchangeability. An everlasting God that faints not, neither is weary, that changes not, and turns not from his promise, such is the God we delight to adore and to use as our eternal shelter, our dwelling-place, and our support.
For meditation: Each person of the Trinity is eternal; it should be no surprise that the eternal God has secured an eternal salvation for all who believe (1 Timothy 1:16–17; Hebrews 9:12,14–15; 13:8,20). Knowing the eternal God is life eternal (John 17:3). What right have we to question this?