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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Graber

I love Jesus and honoring others with my best efforts!

Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3, NIV

Last summer, I participated in a Bible study were we talked about gambling or "lots" (short for lottery). The term "all in" means putting everything into the "lot" or lottery. In poker, going all in means putting everything the player has into the pot. A win would exponentially multiply the outcome. Some people use the term "lay it all on the line" to illustrate the value of what they are laying down. There are many contexts where people go all in or lay it all on the line or go all out--meaning to do everything they can or put forward the maximum amount of effort to multiply or make greater the outcome.

NOTE: I'm just laying some groundwork for my message.

When people cut corners or do things "good enough" or "get by" or decide to pull things together at the last minute, I start to get concerned. I'm not condoning gambling or suggesting any such thing is a good idea, but there are some contexts where giving best efforts pays off. I'm' definitely not perfect, but I try to give my best. Jesus gave his best for me, after all, and that's the example I should be following. No part of Jesus' sacrifice was pulled together at the last minute or reserved. Similarly, Mary spared nothing in honoring Jesus.

Lately, I've been thinking about how significant Jesus' example is for his people to follow.

In John 12:3, Mary goes to wash Jesus' feet. She pours the perfume on his feet, and uses her hair to clean off Jesus' feet. Scripture explains how the oil was expensive, yet Mary lavishes this oil on Jesus' feet--honoring Jesus with the best she had. How beautiful! How extravagant!

When Jesus walked on water and called out to meet Peter, who was having a faith crisis while in the boat, Jesus called to Peter to walk on the water to him. Peter didn't drown because Jesus was giving his full faith effort. When Jesus fed the 5000 by multiplying food (not once, but twice), Jesus didn't skimp on his effort. When Jesus gave his life to save us from sin, he went all out. He didn't just get beaten with harsh instruments, Jesus got a crown of thorns, had to carry his cross, and replaced the worst criminal! Through this act of great sacrifice, Jesus showed us the greatest honor: by giving his life that we may be saved from sin.

I want to honor others like Mary honored Jesus: with my best. I want to follow Jesus' example and serve others. Some people might argue that money restricts them from buying the best things. I don't have unlimited funds, and I can't afford the most expensive things, either. I can give the best of what I already have. Others might argue that they just can't get things to be perfect. Honoring others isn't about getting things perfect. Okay, I can be a perfectionist sometimes, but that's still not the point. The point is using time and talents to give my best (or your best, reader).

Last week, Unfinished Women at Harvest Community Church hosted brunch to give women a space to be served and to fellowship with one another. One of the things Julie and I often hear is how honored the women feel and how much they enjoy the food and fellowship of the event. I like to think we put our best into each detail!

Friends, as you think about your steps today and each decision you make, consider how much honor is being poured out of the effort: a full pint of pure nard? a half a pint of pure nard? A pinch of pure nard? Why measure for measure? Go all in! Lay it on the line for Jesus' sake! Honor people with all out best efforts--full nard!

This month is pastor appreciation month, and I'm a bit behind because I didn't really know what others are doing. Please, friends--honor the leaders at your churches today. Do something kind for them. Express your gratitude. Lift them up in prayer. Take them a plate of cookies. Give them gratitude for the ways they support your faith walk with Jesus.

Wishing you honor and blessings,


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