Jesus values selfless devotion to Him far more than “successful service.”


Last week we focused on the danger of finding satisfaction in our “successful service” instead of in Christ Himself. Today, we will go a step deeper. God’s great desire for us is that we would be holy, not happy. The atonement brought through Christ’s death on the cross brought us back into perfect union with God and His holiness. Consequently, when we stay connected to Him and disconnected from ourselves, His holiness becomes ours. The more we focus on ourselves and what we do for God, the more we lose touch with what’s most important—our oneness with God through Christ in us.


Until we realize just how unholy we are (apart from God), we will continue to seek God’s blessings more than His holiness. We will think we are fit for service, and we will look at the “results” (successful service) for validation. When Mary poured the expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet, the disciples saw it as a waste (extremely unsuccessful service). Yet, Jesus was filled with joy. She knew well her own “unholiness” but in Jesus she had found holiness and everything it brought with it—wholeness and joy beyond measure. Her selfless devotion was an act of worship that revealed that she was the only one who had received all that Jesus had been offering.

Holy Devotion

Where the disciples saw waste, Jesus saw as holy love. They were looking at what could be done for the poor with the money the perfume would have brought. Jesus was seeing what was being done to Him by someone who was dedicated to Him, not service for Him. He was receiving back the blessings He had poured out on her. She wasn’t hoarding them for her own happiness. In essence, she had poured herself out in holy devotion to Jesus, and this is what He desires from us.


When this is our focus, we too will likely be misunderstood. Our culture applauds results and usefulness. Most likely, that’s been your focus too. It’s true that he who has been forgiven most will love most. But if we are blind to the unholiness that resides in us all, we will be blind to our need of forgiveness, and our love for our Lord will be far less than He deserves and desires.

More Like Mary

We all need to be more like Mary and less like the self-focused person we have always been. We all want those “rivers of living water” to be flowing through us, but we’re not willing to pay the price—self-abandonment. What will it take to make us more like Mary? We are no less needful of forgiveness than she was. We just refuse to admit it. We are too busy trying to prove our worth through our successful service to see what Jesus really desires.

When all that matters is selfless devotion to Jesus, we won’t even notice the “results.” If something good happens, it may bring a smile to our face, but our greatest satisfaction will be the smile on Jesus’ face—a smile that expresses His joy that we finally get it. Our life has finally been poured out to Him.



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