Writing to you about ministry has been on my heart a lot lately. Being that I’m passionate about encouraging and equipping Christian women it only makes perfect sense that I share this topic with you. After all, serving the Lord should be a natural and normal part of a Believer’s life.
So I thought about the cost of ministry to us. What does it entail? What takes place in our hearts? For answers, I turned to one of my favorite portions of the Scriptures where the essence of ministry is written all over it.
While he (Jesus) was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head. Mark 14:3
8 Things You Must Know About Ministry
1. You’ll be compelled in ministry. A boldness will come forth through you like never before.
This woman just showed up. She was on a mission. She had a purpose.
What is it that you’re compelled to do? What’s your purpose?
2. You’ll be asked to give up something of great cost.
The alabaster jar of perfume cost a year’s worth of wages. It’s been said that it was like her dowry money. Did she let go of her dream of ever getting married? Why did she use this precious treasure to minister to the Lord rather than save it for herself?
What is it that God is asking you to give up? Is it your time, money, resources, dreams, self, pride, fears?
3. God will break you so you’re of more use for the building of His kingdom.
She had to break the jar in order for it to be useful. Mark 14:3
Where have you been broken? Use that story to further advance the Kingdom of God whether you share your heart with a neighbor, a friend, or a family member. What God has taken you through is for a purpose. Let Him use you and your pain to further lift His name on high. I like to say, “Don’t waste your tears.” 🙂
4. You’ll be ridiculed by believers and non-believers.
Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. Mark 14:4
Is what others think of you more important than what the Lord thinks of you?
Ahh, yes, this one goes straight to our need for approval! We all want to be loved by others, but at what cost? As hard as it is for us to be ridiculed for our honorable actions, beliefs, convictions,etc., the more we’re criticized the more this act will drive us into the arms of our Savior. He is the only ‘in crowd’ that matters. His approval of us is the only approval that we should seek. It’s much easier for me to type these words than to live them, but I will constantly remind myself! 🙂
5. When the criticism comes, let Jesus defend you.
But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me? Mark 14:6
This point is probably the one that is most difficult for me to overcome. When my heart is to serve the Lord by serving others and their response towards me is unkind, rude, or harsh, it certainly makes ministry unattractive to my emotional side.
So I have to ask myself, “When I receive criticism, will I let it stop me from ministering to my Lord?” “Over my dead body,” is usually my final answer, that is, after I have already cried for a good 20 minutes after I received the criticism!
6. God will give you insight that others do not have.
She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. Mark 14:8
Do you know that those who ridiculed her for this act of worship were some of the disciples? Men who spent time with Jesus on a regular basis. Yep. And yet they didn’t have the spiritual insight as to why Mary was anointing Christ even though Jesus TOLD them he was going to die. They seemed clueless, but Mary wasn’t. The gal got it.
Did she understand what was about to take place in her Lord’s life because she was constantly sitting at his feet listening to His voice? I believe so. I believe spiritual insight is given when we’re reading the Word and when we turn our ears ever so slightly so we can hear His voice.
Will you use your insightful gift to bless God or will you shy away from it?
7. She had no name.*
“Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.” Mark 14:9
I love this part of the Scriptures. It really puts the heart motive into perspective. What’s the reason for the ministry and who are you ministering for? To be noticed? Is ministry about you or about the Lord? If no one ever knew your name, would you still minister to Christ?
(*In John 12, this woman is known as Mary of Bethany.)
8. Ministry is an act of worship.
What this woman did for the Lord had nothing to do with her, but everything to do with Him. No matter where you are serving today, whether it be just in your marriage, to your children, within your home or outside of the home, my encouragement to you is to emulate Mary. When we sacrificially pour into our husbands, children, and into others, for the sake of the Gospel message, we become like alabaster jars, pouring out and anointing Christ.
So what do you say? Are you willing to pour your life out for Christ like the perfume from an Alabaster Jar?
Live a poured out life for Christ,