Last Sunday, StAG’s sermon was on Mark 14:1-11. This passage described the scene prior to Jesus’ betrayal, where “a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume” and “broke the jar and poured the perfume on [Jesus’] head” (v3). This act was rebuked by on-lookers, scolding the woman for wasting the equivalent of a year’s wages. They reasoned that the money should have been “given to the poor”. Defending the woman, Jesus said, “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me” (v6). This was not to belittle the importance of helping the poor. After all, the Gospels are saturated with stories of Jesus reaching out to the poor himself. Instead, it points our attention to the identity of Jesus, the eternal Son of God. Nothing we could do as a sacrifice for God will ever be close to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, as He died for our sins.
Taking a look at my calendar, I am confronted with colour-coded blocks corresponding to lectures, supervisions, meals, church and CCCF. Some of these commitments even overlap, but are scheduled in anyway. With endless opportunities available to us in University, it isn’t abnormal for a Cambridge student to be rushing back and forth between all of their commitments. Ironically, we may even find ourselves rushing between things in order to make time to rest. Time is precious. This sermon encouraged me to ask myself, are the things I am choosing to do reflective of someone prioritising God over anything else? At this point in time, am I serving with the same heart as the woman in Mark 14, who was willing to sacrifice anything she had for Jesus? Or am I serving with the heart of the on-lookers, who prioritised other things?
One instruction we have been given as His disciples is to give and serve in Church, but how? Just as the woman “did what she could”, God is asking us to do what we can. Each of us have our unique set of God-given gifts, challenges and opportunities. Within the scope of these, we are asked to serve with our hearts, in a way that puts God first among all the other things we want to do.
My cousin, who is a trained psychologist, leads a Church group that runs a free day care program every Saturday for underprivileged kids in Singapore. In the summer, I volunteered there once. And while I definitely believe in the value of this program and its impact on the kids’ lives, I wouldn’t say I had the skills or the personality particularly suited to teaching these hyper-active kids like my cousin. In the same vein, a successful business person could use his gift of earning money to support the church financially. His love for money does not supersede his love for God (v10-11). We are all given different gifts. Instead of calling the equipped, God equips the called, and simply asks us to give what we can.
The way each of us serves is unique, but we all should encapsulate the same love and adoration that we have for our Heavenly Father. As we start the new decade/ term, or even as we apply for jobs and internships in the next stage of our lives, let us pray for the wisdom and guidance in the choices we make. May our actions (and our calendars) reflect God as our #1 priority.