We all want desperately to matter, to mean something, to live meaningful lives, to have an impact, to make a difference. The desire isn’t the problem. The problem is how and where we seek it.
• Spend some time talking as a family about where you tend to look for validation or meaning in life.
Jesus had an encounter with a woman who anointed Him with oil. Afterwards, Jesus sayid, “What she has done will also be told in memory of her.” In Jesus’ estimation, what she did was worth remembering. Perhaps, if we follower her path we too can live a life worth remembering.
1. Respond to the Call
Mary didn’t act first. She responded to what Jesus had already done. She had heard Jesus teach, she had seen Him act, and then she took advantage of an opportunity to respond to Him. So, the first step to finding a meaningful life is to seek the Lord to see how he has already gifted, equipped and placed you where he wants you for his glory and your good.
• Discuss as a family the different God-given gifts you see in one another and talk about ways to glorify Him through the use of those gifts.
2. Recognize the Cost
Mary poured out a year’s wages onto the head and feet of Jesus, and she didn’t hold anything back. She understood the cost of her lavish act. Following Jesus promises fulfillment, but it will cost you everything you have.
• What is your most valuable possession? Do you think you’d be able to give it joyfully to Jesus if He asked?
Matthew 16:24-25 says ,“Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone wants to follow me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of me will find it.”
• Consider taking some time this week as a family to read about other men and women of the faith who sacrificed much in order to follow and serve Christ. Thank the Lord for their example.
3. Reject the Critics
Matthew 26:8-9 says, “When the disciples saw it, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This might have been sold for a great deal and given to the poor.”
Mary didn’t see her critics because she focused on Jesus. And that is what we have to do, too. The world is full of people who are determined to disagree with you no matter what you do. The reason is that devotion to Jesus has a way of revealing the gods on the thrones of other people’s hearts. Acts of devotion and discipline are always misunderstood and you will never please everyone. Don’t be distracted by the crowd of critics, fix your eyes on Jesus and run with endurance.
• What type of criticism is hardest for you to overlook? In what areas of your life do you need to fix your eyes on Jesus and run with endurance?
4. Refocus on “Can”
In Mark’s version of this story, Jesus said, “She has done what she could.” (Mark 14:8) The frustration many of us feel in seeking after a meaningful life is that we see all too clearly our limitations. To find a meaningful life we need to stop focusing on what we don’t have and what we can’t do, and start looking for the good works God has already laid out in front of us and walk in them.
• As a family, take a moment to ask: “What can we do, where we are, with what we have?”
• What path are you on as you seek to live a life worth remembering?
• What are the good works Jesus has already laid in front of you to walk in?