Focused on What is Most Important

Today’s Journey Through Scripture Readings
Leviticus 11-12; Matthew 26:1-25


When Jesus was at Bethany visiting the house of Simon, who had a skin disease, a woman came to him with a vase made of alabaster containing very expensive perfume. She poured it on Jesus’ head while he was sitting at dinner. Now when the disciples saw it they were angry and said, “Why this waste? This perfume could have been sold for a lot of money and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus knew what they were thinking. He said, “Why do you make trouble for the woman? She’s done a good thing for me. 11  You always have the poor with you, but you won’t always have me (Matthew 26:6-11, Common English Bible).

If you have ever played chess, you know the importance of the queen in the game. If you haven’t played before let me tell you about the queen. The queen can move in any direction, as many spaces as you might desire. She can move exactly like all the other pieces on the board (with the exception of the knight). Because she can move in so many directions and so many spaces she is incredibly important.

The king, on the other hand, is nowhere near as powerful. Like the queen, the king can move in any direction. Where the king’s power is limited is the number of spaces it can make in a single move. One. That’s it, the king can move one space in any direction, no further (I’m not getting into castling here, this isn’t really about chess). Even the lowly pawn, in its first move, can move two spaces.

So, why is the king most important when its power on the board is so limiting? Well, if you lose your queen the game is not necessarily over. If you lose your king, the game is over. That makes the king the most important piece.

I once played a game where my opponent was so determined to protect his queen he started losing many of the other pieces. While the queen is the most powerful, the other pieces are still important. Finally, as valiantly tried to protect the honor of his queen, he left the king open to attack and the game was over. He lost his concern for what was most important.

Our king took the opportunity one night in Bethany to teach the disciples (and us) about what was most important and that we should always maintain our focus. A woman poured a jar of expensive perfume on Jesus. The disciples saw it as a waste. It could be sold and the money used to minister to the poor. Remember in yesterday’s lesson Jesus talked about separating the sheep and the goats and the sheep were those who did the work of ministry and they would receive their eternal reward. And those who didn’t minister? They too would receive their eternal reward but it would be nowhere near as nice. Jesus was saying how important ministry like feeding the hungry was.

Yet Jesus says in this lesson that what the woman did by pouring the perfume over him was even more important. What gives?

Before answering that question, please allow me to ask you a question. What is the most important thing the Church does? Worship! Everything else the Church does is also done by someone else in society. Worship is where we live and show our love for God. Yes, the other is important because Jesus said, “Love your neighbor.” If we live out our love for God in worship, we will live out our love of neighbor.

The queen may be the most powerful piece on the chess board. But, if you lose her, you can continue in the game. If you lose the king, all is lost and the game is over. Likewise, serving neighbor is important for a Christian but if that is all we do, we miss the point. If we worship, the rest will work itself out.

Have a blessed day in the Lord.

With Joy and Thankfulness,

Copyright 2018, J. Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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