The Cloud of Witnesses
Former title Lessons From the People of the Bible
Lesson 2: Mary Magdalene – Gave Willingly For The Ministry Of Jesus
Gave Willingly For The Ministry Of Jesus
As we saw last time, Mary was delivered of 7 demons. The change in her life was total. From being someone without a future and without hope – indeed someone without even a present – Mary became full of vitality and significance.
She was able to put her past behind her – because it had been dealt with – and move on into all that she was created for. She could grasp her destiny regardless of her past.
Understandably she was extremely grateful to Jesus for casting out the demons, however, even some who had been healed of leprosy failed to return to thank Him. Mary, on the other hand, became a devoted follower of Jesus.
Nevertheless, her devotion did not just stem from a desire for Jesus to keep on giving her all she needed. Rather it was the outflow of gratitude. Having been given so much she wanted to do all she could to thank Jesus and help Him in any way she could.
Evidently she was not poor. She may have been ‘ill’ but she was by no means destitute financially. With her mind now restored, she determined that not only would she follow Jesus wherever He went but she would do all she could to materially support Him and His disciples – His Ministry.
She did not see her wealth as something to hoard and protect, in case her condition changed or deteriorated. She didn’t keep it for a ‘rainy day’ – she recognised that it had been entrusted to her and that she could now use it for the benefit of her Master.
She understood what Jesus said: “You cannot serve God and money.” As she had decided to serve God, her money would have to serve Him too. There is no suggestion that she gave unwillingly. There is no suggestion that she did it at Jesus’ request. There is no suggestion she did it to ‘pay for her healing’ or to appease an angry God.
Rather it was the response of a grateful heart being thrilled to be able to further the work of Jesus on earth. Having been helped, she could give so others could be helped as well.
Yes, she had to make the decision to give. She had to make the commitment to see this support continue to the very end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, but it was not a hard decision to make - and once made, the fulfilment of the promise was easy.
Jesus was the reason for the gift. The blessing of others was the reward. She understood and put into practice what Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than receive.” She had received the blessing of the gift of health, now she was to receive the greater blessing of giving.
Mary Magdalene would say to us today...
There is more to following Jesus than just wanting Him to do everything for you. Jesus gives us the privilege of supporting His Kingdom through what He entrusts to us. Oh the joy I had of supporting His Ministry – you can experience that joy too – if you want to.
Father, teach us to be grateful – to recognise that every good and perfect gift comes down to us through Your grace. Help us to realise that You entrust our finances to us so we can become part of Your answer to a dying world. Lord, show me how I can use the money I have to further the work of Your Kingdom on earth. Amen.
Exodus 36:1-7; 2 Samuel 24:18-25; 2 Corinthians 9:6-15.
Why does God want our money?
Why is it so easy for us to fall into the trap of only giving grudgingly?
Why do we feel it is important to see what is done with our gifts?