I’m off like a shot again as soon as I get the inkling that there is something more I can do for the Lord. Whenever I get antsy, I want to do all of the things that have brought me close to Him before. I hate to waste a moment, so let me read one of the thickest books in the Bible all in one sitting, or let me fast for a day or two, or pray for someone for a few hours so that they can know the peace and joy of the Lord. And that does not even cover active ministry. Let me give everything I have to offer to care for others. Let me spend all of my free time sharing with everyone the truth of the gospel.
And I get to the end, and I fall apart.
I know that I am young. I do have so much to learn. The Lord will grow me into the roles and ministries He has prepared for me, and open them to me when His time comes, but for now, I have none of it figured out. I don’t regret anything I’ve given to the Lord, but I know that He fed over five thousand with a boy’s five loaves and two fish. Sometimes I wonder if what I have given Him has even fed five.
Retrospect can make it so difficult to relate to the stories in the Bible. I can quickly read through to see how they end if I do not know already. The outcome of my own actions lacks that handy feature, so it is easy to forget or simply not understand what it was for patriarchs and disciples to have faith in the moment, because from my side of history, they are all great historic figures and heroes already. I can hope to be remembered the same way, but how can I know how to live so that I will be when so much that I do seems to come to nothing?
Can you imagine how this woman must have felt, to hear Jesus say this of her? My heart yearns to know that what I do for the Lord can have that lasting impact. So how did this woman do to gain this priceless recognition from the Son of God?
If we start back at verse seven, we read the story of a woman who comes to Jesus and anoints Him with perfume. The book of Mark adds that this perfume could easily have been sold for three hundred day’s wages. This perfume, worth almost a year’s labor, was her life savings.
It makes me ashamed to admit that when I give as generously to the Lord as she did, and do not see the results I expect, a large part of me comes to Jesus with His other indignant disciples and wants to demand “Why this waste?” Nearly a year’s labor, and no one is fed, no one is clothed, and no one seems to love You any more than the day I started! I don’t mean to blame Jesus for what I perceive as failures, but that is what I often end up doing.
How we measure success is everything. This woman’s main goal was to show Jesus how much she loved Him. Is it any surprise that John chapter twelve identifies her as Mary, the sister of Lazarus and Martha? I still have so much to learn from her example. When all is said and done, I want to know that I did what I did to show Jesus how much I love Him. It is a struggle, but I want to give to Him unreservedly, regardless of what I or the world see because of it. He sees, and He understands that same struggle. When there were five thousand people following Him, He fed them with abundance. They followed Him after that so that they could see more miracles and eat more food. Instead, He began to feed them with the truth of salvation, and many of them left because it would cost them too much.
That success I have desired is not as valuable or long term as I would have thought. The Lord has promised that His people will be fruitful, but I’m not always sure what that fruit is. When I think I know, I often end up chasing the results rather than my Jesus. I still have much to learn, but I want to spend my time sitting at His feet, giving Him all that I have, and seeking no more than seeing the love in His eyes, whatever may come.