What’s that in your hand?- John 12

After withdrawing from the public for a time, Jesus comes to a dinner in Bethany (where Lazarus lived).  The dinner was to honor Jesus.

Martha served, Jesus and Lazarus were among those reclining at the table.  Mary was on the floor, pouring expensive perfume onto Jesus’ feet and wiping His feet with her hair.

And Judas was there, Judas Iscariot.  When he saw what Mary was doing he objected, saying that the perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor.  But as verse six tells us, Judas didn’t say this out of concern for the poor.  He said it because he was a thief.  He kept the money bag and liked to help himself to it.

How horrible that someone would do that!  Steal money from the bag that belongs to their Saviour, and use it for their own desires.  I don’t know why we do it.

God gives us so many talents.  Though the Bible says not many of the called were of note, it also says that God gives to each one as He sees fit.  And He gives to us for His own glory.  We are to use those gifts to serve Him and His people.

Yes there are things God gives us for our enjoyment (and indeed our enjoyment should be in using those things for Him).  But we’re no better than Judas when we dip into the treasury of the Lord in order to serve ourselves.  This includes not only money, but every gift from Him. 

There’s a story of a group of men who were told they would die if they didn’t turn bad.  For some of them this was no problem at all.  Some thought for a few moments before giving in.  But one man would not do it.  He feared his Maker more than those persecuting him.  He declared his stance for what’s right, and he told them God was his reason.  They killed him right then and there.

One of the men later looked back on the situation and wondered why the man died like that, saying that it was a wasteful choice.  He thought the man should have lied for the moment, so that he could escape and then go on living and find opportunity to use his good faith.  He thought “Now the man will never get a chance to use it.”

But the observer was wrong.  It was in that very moment that the martyr had opportunity to use it.  Though it cost him, he used the gift God gave him.

We cannot pass up opportunity to dip into God’s “money bag” for the purposes of God.  We should not think selfishly, as Judas did, and horde the goods for ourselves.  We need to give of our time, money, talents, and whatever else He’s given us.  We need to give these things to His service.  We should not steal for ourselves.  And we should certainly not discourage others from using those things for God’s work, especially not for the purposes of serving self.

What’s that in your hand? 

Whose purse did it come from?