When We Serve

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Photo by Victoria Bilsborough on Unsplash

“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.” – Mark 14:3

It is God’s desire for us to serve Him by sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with other people. We may feel unprepared, unwilling, and even fearful to serve. Yet with God’s word and the guidance of Holy Spirit, we are well equipped.

Read Mark 14:3-9. In this scripture, Jesus was anointed by a woman as He ate dinner with the disciples. She poured a jar of expensive perfume onto His head. This woman was judged and rebuked by those around her, but Jesus was blessed by her action – she had prepared His body for burial. This passage can be interpreted in a number of ways, but at its root this is a beautiful example of how to serve Christ.

When we serve, we must:

1) Use our oil.

The woman used her perfume as anointing oil. While she specifically purposed it to bless Jesus, oil can also be used to heal, protect, empower, and destroy strongholds as it represents the Holy Spirit.  Like this woman, we too have “oil”, i.e., God given spiritual and physical gifts. We should use them to serve Christ and demonstrate the power of the Holy Spirit.

Do words of encouragement quickly come to your mind? Share them with loved ones and strangers alike. Are you a skilled athlete? Honor God by playing sports with integrity. Has God blessed you with financial overflow? Purchase basic necessities for those in need. Serve with your gifts.

2) Pour out our best.

The perfume oil that the woman poured out for Jesus was very expensive. It was worth more than a year’s wages. Could you imagine pouring a bottle of perfume worth your salary onto Jesus’ head? The woman could have easily opted to use olive oil and kept the perfume for personal gain. Instead, she decided to give Jesus her best oil.

It is a privilege to serve Christ. God could share the gospel of Jesus by Himself, but He allows us to have a role. Every opportunity we have to serve should be marked by excellence. This is true even if we are experiencing the blows of life. When we give our best effort to God’s work, we are set apart from ordinary volunteerism and outreach programs. The light of Christ shines through our service and draws people to Him.

3) Be bold.

The woman was bold enough to interrupt a dinner in order to serve Jesus. She must have known that she would face ridicule, but what mattered was obeying the call of the Holy Spirit. If the woman had waited for conditions to be more favorable, she would have missed her opportunity to bless Jesus. He may have been well on His way to Calvary (Mark 14:10-11).

When God calls you to serve, respond immediately. Place obedience over the judgement of other people, your own insecurities, and even life’s hardships. Someone needs you to answer the call. Don’t delay!


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