How Will You Be Remembered?

How Will You Be Remembered?

Memorial Day is a holiday to remember our deceased, especially our soldiers who died defending our country. Family graves are decorated with flowers. Soldier’s graves are honored with an American flag. It is a solemn occasion—a day of remembrance and reflection. Many people will celebrate without contemplating serious questions like: Where are they now—enjoying Heaven or agonizing in Hell? Am I prepared to die? How will I be remembered?

For Christians, every Sunday is a Memorial Day. The Lord’s Supper is a memorial that is meant to be observed throughout the life of a Christian. We contemplate it’s meaning every week. It is a memorial of Jesus Christ and a holy time of communion and worship.

1 Corinthians 11:24 And when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, "This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me."

By observing Communion, we take time to remember Jesus Christ and all that He has done for us in His life, death, and resurrection.

Jesus said there would be other people we would always remember, too, not because they were on the battlefield, not because they were crucified, but because they did what they could.

In Mark 14:1-9, we find such a person. Now the Passover and the Feast of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were looking for some sly way to arrest Jesus and kill him. "But not during the Feast," they said, "or the people may riot." While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, "Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor." And they rebuked her harshly. "Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."

Although the disciples underestimated and under-appreciated Mary’s act, Jesus was so touched by her act of devotion, that He says in verse 9, “wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

What was it she did that impressed Jesus so much? The answer upon which we want to center our thoughts is in verse 8, "She did what she could".

Sometimes we have a limited conception of what really constitutes Christian service. We often think it means being a preacher, a Sunday school teacher, a deacon, a missionary, and so on; but does Christian service only consist of these? No! We are all saved to serve God and others by sharing the Gospel and obeying Christ’s commands.

Ephesians 2:10 For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

If we believe in Jesus, we cannot measure our life by the world’s concept of success. It is not what we gain in this world that measures our success, but only by what God pours through us, and we cannot measure that at all.

When Mary of Bethany broke the container of precious ointment and anointed Jesus, it was an act for which no one else saw any importance. The disciples said it was a waste. But Jesus commended Mary for her extravagant act of devotion. Our Lord is filled with joy when He sees any of us doing what Mary did, not being concerned with the cost, but being abandoned to Him.

Our Father was so extravagant in His love for us, He spilled the life of His Son so the world might be saved. Are we willing to spill out our lives for Him, doing what we can?

Mary’s act teaches us that anything done or directed towards Jesus, under the impulse of simple love for Him, is Christian service. The qualifying word in our definition of Christian service is “for”: doing it for Jesus, out of love for Him, and in order to bring glory for Him.

Do what you do for Jesus and you will be doing a Christian service. Do anything, because you love Him, and it will be lifted up, and become transfigured into “a good work.” All things are sanctified when they are done for Him. All of us can serve Jesus, when we do what we do as for the Lord.

Colossians 3:17 And whatsoever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus.

1 Corinthians 10:31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

How much are we to do for Jesus? All our Lord expects is that we do what lies in our power, no more and no less. This is the meaning of our Lord’s words in verse 8, "She did what she could.”

It is simple. Quit looking to see what everyone else is doing and just start doing what you can do. For example, everyone can pray. Do you pray? Your best is good enough no matter how much it is. God is not going to judge your service by what others have done, but He will judge your service as to whether you have done all you could do. Jesus told a parable about this judgment at His second coming and the end of the age.

Matthew 25:14-30 “For it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted to them his property. To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one, to each according to his ability. Then he went away. He who had received the five talents went at once and traded with them, and he made five talents more. So also he who had the two talents made two talents more. But he who had received the one talent went and dug in the ground and hid his master’s money. Now after a long time the master of those servants came and settled accounts with them. And he who had received the five talents came forward, bringing five talents more, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me five talents; here I have made five talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ And he also who had the two talents came forward, saying, ‘Master, you delivered to me two talents; here I have made two talents more.’ His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master.’ He also who had received the one talent came forward, saying, ‘Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you scattered no seed, so I was afraid, and I went and hid your talent in the ground. Here you have what is yours.’ But his master answered him, ‘You wicked and slothful servant! You knew that I reap where I have not sown and gather where I scattered no seed? Then you ought to have invested my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received what was my own with interest. So take the talent from him and give it to him who has the ten talents. For to everyone who has will more be given, and he will have an abundance. But from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the worthless servant into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’”

It does not take a whole lot for God to be satisfied with our service, but it does take our best. God does not want what we CANNOT DO, but what we CAN DO. The widow with 2 pennies gave all she had. Jesus said she gave more than the rest. “She did what she could.”

The question is not how much we have done, but could we have done more? Are we working in the power of our flesh or in the power of the Holy Spirit? We can do more in the power of the Holy Spirit and we are commanded to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

It takes the Holy Spirit in us to make us what Jesus Christ wants us to be. If we do not exhibit the fruit of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) while doing menial things for the love of Jesus, we are not doing all we can!

It is time to stop craving for personal satisfaction, and to spill the life of Christ out of our souls for the benefit of others. They might not appreciate it. They might abuse our generosity. However, the Lord asks His followers to do this for Him.

Matthew 28:18-20 Then Jesus came to them and said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age."

This commission is what we are to accomplish. Doing what you can for Jesus to accomplish this commission will involve a sacrifice. Our service for Christ is easily assessed by the sacrifices we are willing to make. Others may say we are wasting our time, money, and life, but it is not a waste if it is done for Christ.

Doing what you can will bring criticism. Mary received criticism because the disciples felt the oil should have been sold, and the money given to the poor. There will always be someone who will question any true sacrifice we make for the Lord.

However, what really matters about our life is what Jesus thinks and not what others think! If we please Jesus, it does not matter who we displease or what they say. It does matter if we displease Jesus, regardless of who we please!

Our motive for what we do is important. What was Mary’s motive for expressing her worship for Jesus this way? Did she do it to be seen by others, to gain the Lord’s praise? No, she did it simply out of love for Him.

If our love for Jesus is always discreet and calculating, never carried beyond itself, it is not true love. The characteristic of love is that it is spontaneous, it bursts up in extraordinary ways; it is never premeditated. The reason Jesus called Mary’s act “a good work” was because it came out of spontaneous love for Him. It was not her duty. It was an extravagant act for which no one else saw any purpose except Jesus. "Leave her alone," said Jesus. "Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.”

Prior to the act, Mary did not know that she was anointing the body of Jesus for His burial. That was not her motive. Her heart was bursting with love for Jesus, and she took this opportunity of giving it expression. Love is preference for another person, and if I am a follower of Jesus, that preference is for Him. He takes our sacrifice for Him and uses it as a blessing in His Kingdom. The cost of following Jesus doesn’t matter if we love Him!

Illustration: After being away on business, Tim thought it would be nice to bring his wife a little gift. "How about some perfume?" he asked the cosmetics clerk. She showed him a bottle costing $50. "That’s a bit much," said Tim. So the clerk presented him with a smaller bottle for $30.00. "That’s still quite a bit," Tim complained. Growing annoyed, the clerk brought out a tiny $15.00 bottle. "What I mean," said Tim, "is I’d like to see something really cheap." The clerk handed him a mirror.

What is our love for Christ like? Is it like Mary’s love or are we calculating like Tim when we give to the Lord and do things for Him?

What Mary did reveals a heart that is filled, moved, and driven with nothing but a love for her Master, Jesus Christ.

Her act was expressive. Without hesitation or reservation she expressed her love.

Her act was exclusive. She was solely and completely occupied with Jesus. She did not care what others thought.

Her act was extravagant. It was a foolish act in the eyes of those who watched; however, love does extravagant things.

Our Lord declared that Mary’s loving act would never be forgotten; it would abide forever. Mary’s simple act of service, done for Jesus’ sake, would never be lost. Heaven and earth would pass away, but the record of what Mary had done, the pleasure it brought to the Lord, and the blessing that it would bring to millions of others, would never pass away.

In Mary’s anointing of Jesus, our Lord saw an exact illustration of what He Himself was about to do. He put Mary’s act alongside His own crucifixion. The Father poured out the life of His own Son to save the world. Mary poured out her life’s savings on the Lord. Are we willing to pour out our lives for Him?

This memorial tells us that every act done out of love for the Lord Jesus abides forever. Mary of Bethany probably never guessed that she would be remembered for an act initially criticized as wasteful and inappropriate. Nevertheless, Mary is remembered for what she did for Christ!

As we consider this text in light of Memorial Day and think about the selfless sacrifice others made, we must ask ourselves: How will we be remembered?

We will either be remembered for the good we’ve done or the bad. Some will not be remembered at all, because they did nothing at all! Jesus said, "She did what she could." Could the Lord make that statement about me or you? Have we done what we could for Jesus Christ?

Jesus said in John 14:15-17, “If you love me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor, to be with you forever, the Spirit of Truth. The world cannot accept Him, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him. But you know Him, for He lives with you and will be in you.”

Out of love for Jesus Christ, do what you can to serve Him and obey His commands. It is the only thing that will last eternally.

If you don’t know Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, the only thing you can do for Him is to give your life to Him. Today can become a memorial day for you—the day you give your life to Jesus Christ, the day you become a follower of Him. If that is your decision, and you believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, who atoned for your sin on the Cross, then repent of your sin and die to yourself in baptism so that Jesus can give you a new life born of the Holy Spirit.