An Unhindered God-Honoring Offering

What makes an unhindered offering that honors God? 


If we want to honor the Lord Jesus Christ with our time, talents, and money, John 12 gives us a Biblical basis for this kind of gift. A few days before Jesus went to Calvary, He stayed at a private home in Bethany with His disciples and His friend, Lazarus. Many still go to Bethany, a small village on the eastern side of the Mount of Olives. Now, Mary comes in with a gift for Jesus. She gets down on her knees in front of His feet, breaks the alabaster jar open, and pours the oil on His feet. She even wipes His feet clean with her hair. Tension fills the room, and the air smells of the perfume. Judas was quick to scold Jesus for not scolding her, but the Lord saw the gift as a way to honor Him, so He blessed both the gift and Mary.


Mary's gift was given to Christ and honored God. John 12:1–7 shows us four parts of a God-honoring offering. 



"Pleasant to Christ," which means that Christ likes the offering. The offering is important to us; it's nice for some people and bothersome for others, but it's good for Christ. Let's start with the first one and then move on to the precious one that honors God. 


In verse 3, the Bible says, "Mary took a pound of expensive ointment made of pure nard, which I often hear God praise and which is considered valuable."


We don't honor God by dipping, dripping, or dabbing a little bit of oil out of our Alabaster Box and putting it on Him as a token gift. Instead, an unhindered offering that honors God must be something of great value to us. So when King David received an offering to buy a thrashing floor for what would become the temple altar, he said in 2 Samuel 24:24, "I would not offer burnt offerings of the Lord my God with that which calls me nothing." 


This means that I'm not going to give God anything that doesn't require something of me. When Mary brought her offering, it was very important to her. Verse 3 says that it was a costly ornate box. A denarius was a day's wage in the first century, so think for a moment about how this woman, Mary, brought the equivalent of a year's salary and poured it upon the feet of Jesus. Think for a moment about giving Christ your entire annual salary. It was beyond what was expected of her and beyond what many people would consider reasonable or even logical. However, it wasn't just her gift that was important to her. The position she was in when she gave the gift was also important.


Mary was often found sitting at Jesus' feet. For example, in Luke 10, while Martha is busy making a meal for Jesus, Mary is at his feet listening to what He has to say. In John 11, she sits at His feet because she is sad about the death of her brother Lazarus. This is a posture of humility. A posture of submission. A posture that says, "I trust You." What a great place it is to be at the feet of Jesus.


When was the last time you were at His feet? Have you been too busy trying to climb the corporate ladder? Have you become too full of yourself that you haven't taken the time to sit at His feet? Have you become so self-reliant that you haven't gone to Mary's favorite spot? Here's a bright spot: you can come and sit at His feet at any time: in times of sorrow, joy, pain, receiving, giving, and believing.


Now, look again at who is at the dinner party. Lazarus is there because he was a special person. He was respected because, in John 11, he was in the tomb, but in John 12, he was at the table. Did you understand? He was dead in John 11,  but he was eating in John 12. Here it is: He's in the tomb needing a resurrection, and then, he's out of the tomb reclining with Jesus. And because she saw for herself what Jesus was capable of, her automatic response was, "Lord, I can't help but give you what is precious to me, I believe, because you appeared in my life at a critical junction."


Your talents are valuable, but are they so valuable that you can't give them back to the person who gave them to you? Mary says, "As valuable as this ointment is, I’ll pour it on your feet."  Mary's relationship and fellowship with God led her to the place of giving what could be called a valuable but better described as an extravagant offering to God.


The goal is to get to the point where it's less about me and more about Him. Immersion means living beyond ourselves, and we’re emerging to become a person who gives. Engaging means that we’ve gotten to the point where we’re so engaged that even in tithing and giving, we give extravagantly. Start thinking about where you are on this spectrum of giving. Mary is extravagant because she saw God's love, mercy, grace, goodness, joy, peace, forgiveness, patience, beauty, holiness, and righteousness for herself.




The Bible says, "And the whole house was still filled with the scent of the perfume." 


Mary breaks open the alabaster box, and it says that everywhere, not just around the table, but the whole house, is filled with the scent. Everyone would know something had happened. If there were some people on the roof, they would have been able to smell it. If there were some people on the front porch, they would have been able to as well. 


When we give an offering that honors God, it's not just valuable to us—it's also valuable to others. Others should be blessed by what we give, and others should be affected by what we give. In fact, Jesus went so far as to say that what Mary did with the alabaster box would be remembered and honored for the rest of her life. And so it has been in Matthew 26:13.



In the text, an unhindered offering to God is not just precious to us,  pleasant to others, but an unheard-of God-honoring offering is also perturbing to some. 


This is a critical conjunction, which negates the previous thought and introduces a new one. Some people like it, but it bothers others, like Judas, who was about to betray Jesus. He asked why the ointment wasn't sold for 300 Denarii and given to the poor. He didn't say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief and had access to the money bag. Some people still say what Judah said about Mary, but they say it in a way that makes them sound spiritual. Listen to how religious Judah sounds. We could have taken it to the market and sold the precious oil to make more money. With that money, we could have started a ministry to help the poor and homeless. Judas wasn't thinking about the poor he was looking for an opportunity to come up.




A God-honoring offering is not just precious to us, pleasant to others and perturbing to some. An unhindered God-honoring offering is also pleasing to Christ. 


Notice what Jesus says in John 12:7-8; Jesus said to Judas and everybody else, thinking like Judas, “Leave her alone so that she may keep it for the day of my burial for the poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me.”


Jesus was pleased with Mary’s offering that her story was mentioned in all of the four major gospels. Jesus was not after the amount; He was after Mary’s heart and devotion to Him. Mary’s extravagant offering was a gesture of her great love for her Master and Savior.


Today, may we be challenged to give God an unhindered offering. Just like Mary, let’s never withhold what is due to God. Remember, God is not caught up with the amount of our income. He's more concerned about the abundance of our hearts and our devotion toward Him. Giving an offering may be perturbing to some, but it would always be pleasing to Christ. And when we give out of love and devotion, and delight, God is always pleased with us. 

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