Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Recognizing the Judas in me

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: John 12, 13; Psalm 144

John 12:3-6 (NIV)

3 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 perfume. 4 But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” 6 He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief, as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it.

Good morning!

Some lessons can only be learned the hard way. I’ve been known to take “the long way around the block” occasionally. Have you ever taken the easy way out, just to avoid the harder path? Were you honest enough to admit your “wrong turn,” and then correct it?

Judas somehow believed he had the Lord fooled. That’s an amazing thing to think about. Jesus had put Judas in charge of the disciples’ money bag, knowing he would either choose to overcome his temptation to steal, or he would fall hard into sin’s grip. Judas thought he could divert unwanted attention on him by focusing on Mary’s deed. Judas claimed that she had wasted a year’s wages on a jar of perfumed ointment, as she wiped the Lord’s feet with her hair. The money used to purchase the ointment should have been given to the poor. The pure nard she used was a costly gift, imported from the mountains of India. It cost Mary a great deal, and she willingly and lovingly gave it all to the Lord she loved. Isn’t it ironic how Judas publicly condemned Mary’s gift, while knowingly helping himself to the disciples’ discretionary fund? And he thought Jesus didn’t know?

How often do we think we can fool God while double-dipping into the temple treasury?

I remember the guilt I carried as a young mother, trying to take care of a sick baby with money I didn’t have to spend. One little hospitalization can push a young family into desperate need. We experienced a financial crisis after our son David was born. He spent ten days in the NICU of a local hospital, fighting to live. When the bills began to pour in, I felt like we were “robbing Peter to pay Paul.” I said that quite often, as I poured over the mounting stack of invoices, wondering how we would ever pay the medical providers for saving our son’s life. God trusted me to be faithful in tithing, yet I found myself pulling my tithe away to pay medical bills. I tried to justify it in my mind, believing that God would want me to pay off the indebtedness for David’s medical expenses. I was robbing God, and I knew it in my heart. He knew it too. God saw my lack of faith in His power to handle the medical bills. Had I just been willing to give Him my first fruits, He would have taken care of the rest. He promises it over and over again in His Word. But I didn’t trust Him enough, and that little mistake took me down a road I did not want to travel.

We cannot rob God and expect to get away with it. No matter what the reason, He knows our hearts better than we know ourselves. We can justify almost anything and make it palatable, but when we knowingly choose not to give Him our very best, that guilt can be overwhelming. I got really angry with God for something that He was clearly not responsible for. I should have been angry with myself for not trusting His Word completely. It was my attitude that needed realignment.

Thank God there is mercy and grace at the foot of the cross for you and for me.

Even though Jesus knew Judas’ heart, He chose to wash his feet that night along with the other disciples. Christ died to save the Judas in me. If you’ve ever robbed God, please know that Jesus Christ offers His grace and forgiveness when you choose to confess, repent, and turn around.

I have learned God’s blessings come with obedience. Help me Lord, to trust you more and more each day.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding

Faith UMC - St. Charles, MO

Pray for: a conscience that convicts! God gives us free will to choose whether to obey or disobey Him. If you are feeling guilty this morning because you have not been giving Him your very best, it is not too late to turn around. Ask Him for forgiveness. Do it now.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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