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Women leave a legacy

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Mountain High-Valley Low Women’s Retreat

“Women, Leave a Legacy”

December 3-5, 2004

Oak Glen Christian Center, Yucaipa, CA

Mark 14:3-9

Mark 6:14-28

            Most times when faced with the question of a legacy, our minds immediately turn to THINGS that we want to leave to our loved ones.  Family heirlooms, insurance policies, stocks, bonds, jewelry, houses and land, cars, and the list is endless.  Leaving these THINGS also often gives opportunity for greed and jealously to show up and family members began to turn on each other.  Brothers and sisters, long lost aunts and cousins, stepchildren, surviving spouses and greedy children all begin to fight with each other.  Sometimes this anger and greed and jealousy is explosive, and sometimes, it is left to fester within for years as a person pretends that all is o.k. 

            There are those who die in the poorest of conditions and are unable to leave any of these THINGS for their loved ones.  The loved ones have to scrape and maybe borrow and ask others for assistance to even bury the person.  To die and leave nothing can sometimes be an even bigger problem, as surviving loved ones bicker over who will contribute the most to the burial.

            When we are able to leave THINGS to our loved ones, many times they have not been taught how to manage well, or they are not used to excess, so they end up squandering it in short times.  I watched families of my best friend and my own brother waste hundreds of thousands of dollars and sell or pawn personal items that had meant so much to the deceased one.  Things that they had worked hard and long to acquire.  Things that they cherished and guarded.  Things that bought them joy and a sense of accomplishment.  But to the survivors, they held no value other than a quick buck.

                        It is important that we understand a few things about legacies before we determine the type of legacy we want to leave.  First of all, you should understand that everybody leaves a legacy, intended or not.  Next, a legacy is more that an inheritance or a gift or a birthright.  Legacy is also custom, tradition and habit.

My question to you today is, “are things, money, houses and land, really the most important legacy to leave our love ones?”  In our text today we will find the account of a woman who left a legacy without attempt, without a will, with no financial value or worth.  A woman who left a lasting legacy from a act that took a few minutes in her life.  Turn with me to Mark 14: 3-9.

Now, first realize that the woman in this account is not named.  But John, in his account does identify her as Mary of Bethany, the sister of Martha and Lazarus (John 11:1-2).  She is not to be confused with the unnamed woman in the house of Simon the Pharisee in Luke 7.  That woman who also anointed Jesus’ feet was a converted harlot expressing her gratitude for His forgiveness of her many sins. 

The woman that we see in Mark is in the house of Simon the leper.  She is mentioned three times in the Gospel accounts, and each time she can e found at the same location:  at the feet of Jesus (Lk.  10:38-42; Jh 11:31-13; 12:1-8).  Here she is expressing her love to Christ because He was going to the cross to die for her. 

Let’s notice some things about Mary:  1] She had a close relationship with Jesus and loved to listen to his stories.  2] She gave Him her best – a very expensive perfume.  Spikenard was imported from India.  A whole jar would have cost about a common worker’s annual salary.  3] She gave to Him lavishly and lovingly.  4] She was not ashamed. 

Expand on: 

§         Close relationship

§         Giving best – Donna Karren vs. Jergins lotion

§         Unashamed

There were three consequences to Mary actions that we should take note of.  First, the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.  When the custom, the practice or the habit of worshipping Jesus is in a home, the whole house tells the story.  If you practice worshipping Jesus in your home, behind closed doors, it will tell by the others in your home.  If you live alone, it will be obvious when others visit.  Even if those in your home or family are not all converted, they will form a respect for and an appreciation for your dedication to worshipping Jesus.

Second, the disciples criticized her for wasting her money.  Judas sounded so pious being so concerned about the poor, when in reality he was concerned about his own pocket.  He had followed Jesus and not reaped the financial benefits that he thought would come.  He believed the Jesus was going to take over and set up His kingdom on earth then.  When he realized that was not going to happen, he gave up on Jesus and sold Him for the price of a slave.  The disciples, being ignorant of Judas’ real concern, jumped in a agreed with him against Mary.

You better be careful whom you side with.  Jesus said, “not everybody that says Lord, Lord, will enter the kingdom of heaven”.  Stop listening to every Tom, Dick and Harry about what the Word says and read it for yourself.  I was even enlightened as I studied and researched in Warren Wiersbe for this message about the two Mary’s.  So many times teachers and ministers have accounted all incidents as having come by the same person.  Most times when you are really worshipping Jesus and serving Him for who He is, you will be criticized and everyone will turn against you.  Remember, the road is narrow and few find it.  Expect criticism in this life, especially from those who are supposed to be worshipping just like you.

Third, Jesus commended Mary and accepted her gracious gift.  Jesus knows the heart of man.  He knew the heart of Mary, and He knew the heart of Judas and understood why the other disciples followed his example.  The object of our worship should be Jesus alone, and our concern for approval should be for His approval alone.  If it’s all right with Jesus, it ought to be all right with you!  If not, I must trust Jesus, and Jesus alone.  He’s the only One that I call tell all of my troubles.  He’s the One that will lead me safely home.  I must tell Jesus!

The most notable consequence about Mary’s action was that Jesus predicted that her deeds would always be remembered whenever the Gospel is preached.  Why?  Well, the Bible Commentary says that without her, the village of Bethany might have been forgotten; the  story of her deed was a blessing the early church that heard about it; and because it is recorded in the three Gospels, Mary has been a blessing to the whole world.

Mary gave her best in faith and love and she left a legacy to model.  “Are things, money, houses and land, really the most important legacy to leave our love ones?”  Not by Mary’s example.  She clearly used the most costly thing that she owned to worship Jesus.  So, what am I saying?  I am saying that it is not the price tag or the monetary value that counts.  I am saying that you should worship Jesus with the best that you have. 

The best of your time. The best of your life.  The best of your clothes. The best of your money. The best of your mind. The best of your heart. The best of your voice.  The best of your everything.  If you can’t give Him your best, then shouldn’t give.  I am saying that Mary made a conscience choice of her gift to Jesus.  She was still looking forward and knew that He was about to die for her.  She wanted to worship Him with the best that she had.  She wanted to show her love for Him while He was alive.  She walked through criticism, mockery, scorn, and ridicule to give her best to Jesus.  She was not ashamed to lavish it on Him.  She ignored the suggestions of others ways to give her possession.  She ignored it all.  The only thing that mattered was what Jesus thought.  The only thing that mattered was what Jesus would say, and He said, “Let her alone.  She has done a good deed to Me.  She has done what she could.”

You too can choose the type of legacy that you will leave.  Mary was look forward to what Jesus was about to do.  You can look back to what Jesus has already done.  You too can choose to worship Jesus with your best and foremost.  Oh, you might be talked about.  You might be called a fanatic!  Why is that such a bad thing when applied to Christians, when sports lovers are just that?  Fans is short for fanatic!  When you choose to boycott a popular movie because it is sexually exploitive, you might be talked about.  When you choose not to laugh at dirty jokes you might be talked about.  When you choose to go to Bible study rather than the social at Sis. Carolyn’s home, you might be talked about.  When you choose to go against the world’s way of acting, the world’s way of thinking, you might be talked.  But that’s o.k.  All that matter is what Jesus will say.  Mary looked forward to the cross, but you can look back at the cross and know that Jesus has already died for you.  He choose to die, just for you.  He was bruised for our iniquity; He was bruised for our sins.  The chastisements of our sin was upon Him, yet, He choose to die.  He walked down a long road, through the crowds who just a week earlier had cried, “Hosanna,” and now wee shouting “crucify Him, crucify Him.”  But He walked it for us.  He hung on a tree just for us.  He hung His head and died, just for us.  He was buried in a borrowed tomb, just for us.  But He rose from the grave, just for us.  He lives, He lives, Christ Jesus lives today.  And if you choose to worship Him in Spirit and in truth, in obedience and commitment, one day, after all of the nay Sayers are silenced, one day when all of your best has been laid to rest, not only will you leave a lasting legacy, and loving legacy, a legacy that will be handed down through your family, but you will get to hear what Jesus has to say.  One day he will say, “well done, good and faithful servant.  You have been faithful over a few things, enter into the joy of the Lord.”

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