The everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the weak, And to those who have no might He increases strength. ISAIAH 40:28-29
Read John 12:6 once again and think about this: Who gave Judas the responsibility of carrying the money box? Jesus, of course. Now, ask yourself, did Jesus know that Judas was a thief when He gave him that responsibility? Certainly! That brings me to another important lesson from this story.
This is a startling revelation for many Christians, but we will always be tempted in the area of our weakness. As a matter of fact, just as Judas – the guy with the weakness for money and prestige – was given responsibility for the money box, God will give you responsibility in the area of your weakness.
Why? You may be thinking, does God set us up to fail? No! Actually, He’s setting us up to succeed. The only way we can truly succeed is by confronting our weaknesses and overcoming them.
When God gives you some small responsibility in the area of your weakness, He is taking you through a growth process necessary for your success. You see, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able” (1 Corinthians 10:13).
According to the Bible, you have never experienced a temptation that you did not have the ability to resist. We always make a conscious choice to sin. However, God wants to help us turn our area of greatest potential for defeat into our area of greatest victory.
Thus, Jesus gives a thief responsibility for the money and, in doing so, gives him the opportunity to overcome his selfishness and greed. But Judas didn’t do it, did he?
Money is a bigger test than you think. In fact, you are being tested by money right now. It is vital that you understand this truth: The extent of the responsibility you will have in the kingdom is directly proportional to how you handle money.
If you doubt the truth of this statement, take a fresh look at Jesus’ words in Luke 16, “Therefore if you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will commit to your trust the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in what is another man’s, who will give you what is your own?” (vv. 11-12).
You are being tested right now. The prize for passing the test is true riches. But, then, what are true riches?
True riches are people – the privilege of seeing those you love saved, made whole and growing in God. True riches are the words of knowledge, gifts of healing, faith, and miracles that minister to people.
True riches are being able to help others who have spent their entire lives in bondage to depression or oppression experience freedom for the first time. True riches are souls.
Please know that I don’t want to sound harsh, but I must tell you the truth. God isn’t going to give you responsibility in the kingdom of God or even the house of God if you can’t even handle your checkbook. He cannot!
As a pastor, I deliberately follow God’s example. This may shock some people, but I will never give a person a leadership position in the church if he or she can’t handle money.
I know I’m going to give an account to God for the sheep in the flock I’ve been charged with leading. The Bible says undershepherds will give an account to the chief Shepherd (Jesus) about how they cared for and protected the sheep. That’s why I will never delegate responsibility over precious sheep to someone if they can’t even handle personal finances in a biblical way.
Mary came to Jesus with a heart overflowing with gratitude and love. That love translated itself into worship through an offering of great price.
In a similar way, we show God each week how full of gratitude and love our hearts are. So ask yourself some revealing questions: What do your offerings say about your heart levels of gratitude and love for God? What does your spending say about what’s truly important to you on this earth?
Judas wanted to keep everything he could in order to build his own kingdom. Mary was willing to give everything she had in order to bless the King.
EXTRAVAGANCE FOR GOD
As I’ve said, there is a battle going on inside each of us. It is a battle between selfishness and generosity, and it is a battle generosity must win.
Let me tell you something about generosity that will help you recognize it when you see it: Generosity is extravagant. One year’s wages came pouring out of Mary’s container that day. Surely that was an extravagant gift to the Lord. But how do we evaluate what constitutes an extravagant gift today?
Now, before you answer that, let’s just remind ourselves of something. God owns everything. All the wealth of heaven and Earth are His. Right? So what size gift would impress God? Is $1 million an extravagant gift to Him? Is a $100 billion gift extravagant to God? How is it even possible to give an extravagant gift to the God of the universe?
There is only one thing you can possibly give to God that would constitute an extravagant gift – yourself. You can offer up all you are and ever will be. Now, that’s an extravagant gift. That is really what Mary was doing that day. The perfumed oil was just a symbol – a token – representing the fact that all of her heart was the Lord’s. That was the extravagant gift Mary gave that day.
It’s a gift that a selfish-hearted person like Judas could never hope to give or even understand.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT
Jesus put Judas in charge of the offering box – Judas’ area of weakness. Can you think of a comparable situation in your life? Think of the areas over which you have responsibilities. Are any of them areas of weakness?
God also told Paul that He would be strong in Paul’s areas of weakness. Receive God’s strength this week in your areas of weakness.
Devotional adopted from “The Blessed Life”.