Thursday, October 11, 2012

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Okay, I admit it. I talk pretty fast. But maybe that's because I lived in the New York area for so long. Everyone there talks fast! Or maybe it's because I always have so much to say before the time runs out. But I am sort of a, I guess, a verbal machine gun. But I did come across someone who finally succeeded in slowing me down by about maybe two-thirds.

He's a Russian doctor who just recently immigrated to the United States. He hadn't planned to come here, but persecution and the prospect of threatened imprisonment in the days of the Cold War had driven him to America. I groped for words that he would understand, and he groped for what would be the English word to express his feelings. It was kind of a long conversation. It took a while to exchange just basic information, but it was worth the effort.

The doctor - a committed Christian, and for years he was secretly copying the scriptures and Christian literature when that door was closed in his country. He also ran a network of people who did the same - getting precious scriptures out to people. All that time he risked his secure, professional position to be spreading the Gospel. Finally, he had to leave, and he was trying to find some place to work in the United States.

And I said to him, "You know, you are one of God's heroes." And he had kind of a pained look on his face like he didn't understand. I said, "Winner! One of God's champions. Olympics!" I was trying to be understood. And then I realized that his pained expression wasn't because he didn't understand; it was because he did. Then in this one line of broken English he gave me a Christ-like perspective on all the work we do.

I'm Ron Hutchcraft and I want to have A Word With You today about "No Big Deal."

Our word for today from the Word of God comes from Mark 14:3. "While Jesus 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 (very expensive perfume, that is). She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head." Now, there is some criticism for that. After that in verse 8 He says, "She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body and forehead 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.'" And sure enough we just did it today again, didn't we? We talked about her.

Now, in a sense, what the doctor said about his serving the Lord at such a great price in the Soviet Union is what we all ought to say. He said in his broken English, "I only do what I could." He didn't want to be a hero. He said, "I've only done what I could. No big deal."

You know, I think the ultimate epitaph for our life would be what Jesus said about this woman, "She/he has done what she/he could." I wonder if that could be said about your life? My Russian friend knew that that's really all God expects. Now, He does expect all we have to give as this woman literally lavished her most expensive possession on the Lord. But He also wants us to know that it's no big deal to give Him all you have.

Jesus thinks it's a big enough deal to reward though. It's important that we don't think that it's that big of a sacrifice. We shouldn't think, "Wow! Look what I just did." But on the other hand, He'll never forget it. Maybe you've got a sense of inadequacy right now; you compare yourself. You say, "Well, I don't have much to give. I'm not as talented. I can't do as much for the Lord as somebody else can." Are you giving what you have for Jesus' sake? That's all He asks.

Lavish what you have...all the little or all the much on Jesus. Maybe the problem is pride. But then, how could you do any less for the Lord. Don't be proud; it's no big deal to give all the little that you have for the much that He gave you. That Russian doctor? He didn't think he was a hero. None of us should.

But if you just give it, don't be surprised if Jesus welcomes you in heaven with a hero's welcome.