The Right Way to Worship

The tender and touching story of Mary of Bethany in John 12:1–8 demonstrates the right way to worship God. Martha, predictably, was working, and Mary was worshipping. Mary wanted to give to Jesus something that was valuable, precious, and special. So, with complete abandon, she broke a bottle of extremely expensive perfume and wiped the feet of Jesus. The perfume was worth an entire year’s salary—that’s quite a gift!

Still, it wasn’t the value of the gift that was significant. She could have made a bold announcement, “This perfume is worth a year’s salary!” She could have even said that it was worth more to impress the others. This was the sin of Ananias and Sapphira—pretending to be something they were not (see Acts 5:1–11). Instead, with complete abandon, she broke it as though it were nothing. She knew that, compared to Jesus, it was worth nothing. That is how our worship should be.

True worship will cost us.

When King David bought the field from Oman, he said, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing” (1 Chronicles 21:24).

Interestingly, in John 12:4–6, Judas protests Mary’s worship, saying the money she spent on the perfume should have been given to the poor. On the surface, it looked as though Judas was the true worshipper and Mary was the wasteful one. But things were not as they seemed. Jesus looked at Mary’s heart.

Like Mary, we must all be worshippers of God. We should do it because God is worthy. We should do it with reverence and intimacy, giving our all, for it was for this reason God created us: “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for Thou hast created all things, and for Thy pleasure they are and were created” (Revelation 4:11 KJV).

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