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Day 74 – The Big Problem with Being More Dedicated to God

Mark 14:6–11 SV

But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

Then Judas Iscariot, who was one of the twelve, went to the chief priests in order to betray him to them. And when they heard it, they were glad and promised to give him money. And he sought an opportunity to betray him.

Consider This

Remember our discussion yesterday about the three kinds of people you meet on the way to the cross? In case not, here’s a quick rehash: the Type #1 people are deadly; the Type #2 people are dedicated; the Type #3 people are devoted.

So where would you land Judas in this mix?

If you said Type #1 you are wrong. Judas was Type #2. He was a dedicated and trusted disciple of Jesus; we are told in another of the Gospel accounts that he actually kept up with the money for the whole group. Judas was a first-round draft pick—one of the Twelve. He was dedicated to the cause. Some believe Judas was actually trying to foment the revolution by turning Jesus in; that he knew doing this would force the battle. We may never know.

This is where the deception of “dedication” comes into play. My theory is this: my dedication is really all about me and my effort and my commitment. And because one’s dedication is about oneself, it can shift gears from one object to the next. The object of my dedication is a constantly moving target and, frankly, it tends to move from whatever I used to think was best for myself to whatever I think is best for myself now. Perhaps it’s a subtlety, but that’s the way deception works. My dedication is a lot more about whatever it is that I am doing to demonstrate my commitment than it is about the thing or person to whom I am supposedly dedicated.

This is the problem with so much of what we call the Christian faith. It’s really just trying to get people to amp up their dedication—you know, pray harder, fast faster, serve better, increase their tithes, and so it goes. The Christian faith is not about increasing one’s dedication; it’s about undivided devotion, abandoning oneself to God in love. Dedication is about self; devotion is about the other.

It’s why Type #3 people are rare, but they embody the very core essence of the gospel. Can you believe what Jesus said in response to this woman’s reckless act of devotion (pouring out a year’s wages worth of perfume on his head)? Get this.

“And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. It makes me wonder if the corollary is also true’that wherever this story is not being told (and enacted) in memory of her if the gospel is even being preached.

Type #3 people are the goal. These are the kind of like-Jesus people the Holy Spirit longs to make. They should be the norm. So why do they tend to be the outliers?

The Prayer

Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.

The Questions

  • What would it mean to trade in our passion to be more dedicated for a posture of abandoned devotion? What would that look like in your life?