Jentezen Franklin - A Life Worth Remembering
If you have your Bible, open to the book of Mark, chapter 14. And let's begin reading with the 3rd verse: "And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster box of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head, and there were some who were indignant among themselves and said, 'Why was this fragrant oil wasted, for it might have been sold for more than 300 denarii and given to the poor.'" Listen to this, "And they criticized her sharply". Notice that. "But Jesus said, 'Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for me, for you have the poor with you always, and whenever you wish, you may do good, but me you do not have always.'" Notice verse 8: "She has done what she could. She has come beforehand to anoint my body for burial".
Now, listen to verse 9: "Assuredly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her". And I want to talk to you about a life worth remembering because that is exactly what Jesus said about this woman. The question is, Will you be remembered, will it matter that you were born 100 years from now? Another way of putting it is, In this way, is what you're living for worth Christ dying for? The only way to live a life worth remembering is to live for the things that impress God, and Jesus said this woman is so powerful, her life and what she did in those few texts of scripture was so profound in Jesus' opinion, not CNN, not Time magazine, but He said, "This is a life worth remembering". I doubt anybody would write about her in our current press, but Jesus said, "Wherever the gospel is preached in the whole wide world, this woman is to be remembered for what she did in those few moments, those few", you can read it. I mean, it was moments, and yet He said, "She is to be remembered and this is to be as a memorial for her the rest of her life".
The Guinness Book of World Records, there's a man who is famous and he has his moment to be remembered by in the history book because he eats glass, wood, and metal. As a matter of fact, he has eaten 10 bicycles, a supermarket cart, and most astonishingly, he ate an entire Cessna light flying aircraft. In other words, he ate a small airplane. He grinded it up and he ate it and he is in the book of records. That is his fame and that's what he will be remembered by. Can you imagine him standing before the throne of God one day, and God, in a deep baritone voice saying, "What did you do with your life"? And he will look back and say, "I ate an airplane". That is his legacy. That is how he will be remembered. I don't want to be remembered for that. The question that I want to ask you is: What will you be remembered for by your family, by your friends, and most importantly, by God? What will be your memorial?
In Mark, chapter 14, they were having a dinner with Jesus. Imagine having Jesus for dinner. And Martha, the Bible said, if you read the entire story, Martha was cooking in the kitchen and preparing. Jesus had sat down at the table and others were there gathered, the disciples, and they were having a meal. How amazing would that be, to have a meal with Jesus? And as they were there and as this occasion was taking place, Martha was cooking, but Mary, if you read Luke chapter 7, it tells us the same occasion and it says she was a sinner, Mary was a sinner, and it says that she stood at His feet, that she knelt at His feet, that she washed His feet, that she dried His feet with her hair, that she anointed His feet, and she was weeping at His feet. The most sacred place in the world is at the feet of Jesus. It is not in a cathedral or in a sanctuary, but the most sacred place that you can find yourself is at the feet of Jesus.
And there she was at the feet of Jesus, not at the hands, saying, "Give me," but at the feet, saying, "Forgive me and I worship you because you've forgiven much. I worship you in this manner". She broke open the alabaster box. She said, "I can't go fix a salad right now". She left the kitchen and she took the alabaster box of expensive ointment and she broke it and she began to weep and she began to worship and she began to pour out her praise on Jesus. And Jesus was so impressed, so moved, and He gives us the details, the secrets to living life worth remembering. Now, pay attention and listen because in this are four secrets that you can live a life that in God's eyes, He says, "It's worth remembering, so much so that every time the gospel is preached"...
How many of you know the gospel is pretty important? It's life or death. It's heaven or hell. And He said, "Wherever the gospel is preached, I want what this woman has done to be remembered as a memorial". What did she do? Notice what Jesus said about her. The first thing that Jesus said about her is He said, "Leave her alone, for she has done what she could do". If you want to live a life worth remembering, notice you don't have to do what you can't do. He doesn't require you to do something that you're not capable of doing. He just says do what you can do. She's done what she could. She has done what she could. That's all Jesus said she did. I want you to understand the danger is not that you won't do what I can do. The danger is that you won't do what you're capable of doing. And He said she has done what she could do.
I heard about a preacher who wanted to have an illustration in his sermon, and so He got together with a man who came to church with his wife and said secretly to the man before service, I want you to take this $20 bill and put it in her Bible; hide it in the front of her Bible, and he did that. In the middle of his sermon the preacher called the woman up on the stage, and he said, I want you to open up your Bible and give me the $20 bill. And she said, I don't have any money in my Bible". And he said, Just open the Bible and give me the money out of it. And she said, I don't have Pastor. I don't have any; I didn't put any money... He said, Please, just do what I ask. And she opened the Bible, and sure enough, there was the $20 bill. And she was stunned and she said, Where did that come from? And he said, I put it there. I made sure before I asked you for it that you would give it to me.
God will never ask of you anything He has not already given you. If He's asking you for it, it's because He's already given it to you. You know, I remember when the Lord called me to preach and I argued with God and I said, "I can't speak in front of people. I'm too shy. I can't do it". And the whole time I'm arguing with God, don't insult God with arguing, by arguing with Him. When He's telling you to give Him something, it's because He's already put it in you. You don't even know what He put in you. There's hundreds of you listening to me, thousands of you listening to me. Those of you listening by television and there in Gwinnett, you don't even know what God has put in you, and you'll never know until you give yourself completely to Jesus Christ. There's things He put in you that you're not even aware you're capable of doing. And He said, "She has done what she could". And God is just asking you to do what He's already put inside of you to do. I can't do everything, but I can do what I can. And God says that's how you live a life worth living.
Secondly, I want you to notice that not only did she do what she could, but she did it in the face of criticism, for the Bible said that they criticized her, I believe it's verse 5, they criticized her strongly. It's not that she did what she could only, but she did it in the face of criticism. And if you want to live a life worth remembering, you've got to learn to deal with criticism, because when God tells you to do something, you will have critics. You will have people who will cut you down. There will be haters. There will be people who will not appreciate the change Jesus has made in your life. They will not believe in the dream that God has given you in your heart. And the only way that you can live a life worth remembering is to not allow the voices of the critics to stop you. You'll have to pass two tests, the praise test and the criticizing test, the criticism test, and you have to give both to God. You can't just take the criticism or take the praise. You got to give both to God. Give the praise and give the criticism to God and do what He has called you to do in the face of criticism.
And some of you are being criticized right now, and some of you, you didn't have anybody in your family put you down until you started serving the Lord, till you started stepping out and obeying what God's called you to do. And just expect it, when you do what you can do, there's going to be people who will criticize you, criticize what you're doing, do you know if we listen to our critics we wouldn't be sitting in this place and we wouldn't be doing what we're doing? You've got to learn what to listen to and what to turn off and say, "You know what, criticize me if you want, but I'd rather give them something to talk about. Amen. I'm not going to let my dream die because of critics". You'll always have the people who sit on the sideline and they said, "You're wasting. Look at the waste". They criticized her strongly.
Somebody's listening to me today and you're almost ready to quit because you've been getting so much flack and criticism, but I've just come along to boost you up a little bit and say to you today that there's still no weapon that's formed against you that will prosper, and every tongue, notice he put the tongue in the category of weapons. We think weapons are guns and knives or, you know, financial attacks, but notice the category of the tongue, every tongue that rises up. We quote half that scripture. "Every tongue that rises up," God said, "I will condemn. You just hold your peace and let me fight your battle, and I know how to win and I know how to defeat criticism in your life".
Praise God. She did what she could do. She did it in the face of criticism. And that's what you'll have to do. There will always be people that will criticize. There will always be people who will make fun of you if you serve Jesus Christ. All your friends, as long as you were throwing up every Saturday night because you got drunk, as long as you were living silly and doing crazy things, they never criticized you, but now that you get up and go to church on Sunday morning, they can't stand you. They don't understand. They say you're in a cult. You're not in a cult. You've been born again and the old things have passed away. Don't quit because of criticism if you want to live a life worth living and worth remembering. He said she did what she could. She did it in the face of criticism.
And then notice something else. When did she do it? "She did it beforehand, before I was crucified. She did it beforehand for my burial". Notice that she did it, she did what she could, she did it in the face of criticism, she did it on time. Had she waited, He would have went to the cross without being anointed for His burial, but she did it on time. Something in her said, "Now is the moment". Something in her said, "This is the time". Something in her said, "I can't wait another minute. I know that the meal's not over. I know that it's not proper protocol," but something in her said, "I cannot allow time to miss me. This is my window. This my moment". And if you want to live a life worth remembering, you have to do what God has called you to do on time. Jesus wept over the city of Jerusalem and He said, "They did not know," notice this, "the hour of their visitation".
They had a chance. They had a window of opportunity. They had a moment. They had a time of visitation, but they missed it. And if you want to live a life worth remembering, you can't have the someday syndrome, someday I'm going to obey God, someday I'm going to step out by faith and do what God's told me to do, someday I'm going to get enough nerve to get out and walk on the water and come out of the comfort zone, into the faith zone. Someday, someday, someday, somewhere over the rainbow. One of these days I'm going to do it. But when you live a life worth remembering, it will require you to move on time. There's a time attached to your miracle. There's a time attached to your calling. There's a time to it. And when God says, "Move," you need to move. Usually God will tell you to do it when it looks least favorable in the natural to do it. That's when God will usually transition you, because then it really takes nothing but complete trust. I'm walking on nothing but a word from God, and here I go out of the boat on to the water, and only the word is going to hold me up.
She worshipped in the face of criticism. She worshipped on time. And I really feel that somebody's been saying "Someday, someday I'm going to serve God. Someday I'm going to do what He's called me to do. Someday". And the Lord says, "It's time". She did what she could do on time. And then lastly, the Bible said, notice that she did what she could do, she did what she could, she did it in the face of criticism, she did it on time, and she did it out of brokenness. The Bible said the alabaster box was expensive, and we say she poured it out, but that's not what the Bible said. She broke it and she anointed His feet. She anointed Him for His burial out of her brokenness.
And I want you to understand that the Bible said in Corinthians that this treasure... what's the treasure? The love of God, is in earthen vessels, that we have this treasure in earthen vessels, and in order for the love of God to flow out of us, the vessel has to be broken, and it's out of brokenness. See, we don't want to be broken. We want to strut. We don't want to be broken. We want to be large and in charge. But notice what Jesus said is a life worth remembering. It's the person who's been broken, whose dreams have been broken, whose security has been broken, whose life has been broken, whose family has been broken. He's not looking for perfect vessels. He's looking for broken vessels that can pour forth the love of God because "I've been there; I understand what you're going through".
And that's what God says is great in my eyes. That's a life worth remembering. It's the person who's been broken. And so when He allows us to go through seasons of brokenness, brokenness because of sickness or affliction in our weakness, we are made strong, and how does the love of God, how does the oil which represents the love of God and the anointing of God and the healing of God, how does it get out? We have this treasure in earthen vessels. It can't get out. People can't see what we have. They really don't see what we have on the inside until we've been broken, and when we go through a season of grief, when we go through a season of valleys, when we go through a season of being broken, that's when people really see, "Look at that sweet spirit and that love of God. I know what they've been through, and so now when they witness to me, it's not just another somebody telling me, but this is somebody I watched walk through hell. Their vessel, their life has been broken, but out of that comes the pouring of the love of God that people say, 'That is real.'"
It's out of our brokenness, it's out of dying that we live. It's out of our dreams and our things being broken to pieces that comes God's divine plan that we never saw coming, that He put in us from the beginning that we didn't even know we had. Could it be that God has been waiting on you to be broken, waiting on you to die to your will and die to your trying, trying, trying? Die. We live in a kingdom of opposites. If you want to get, give. If you want to live, die. If you want to go up, go down. And that's what he's saying, it's through your brokenness. How can I live a life worth remembering? How can I impress God? He looks for brokenness.
And I say this in closing today: How many of you, how long has it been since you were broken before God? It's been so long. I'm just kind of going along. But notice when she fell at His feet and she's weeping and she's crying and she is broken before God, He says, "This impresses me. I don't like your independence, I don't like your distant worship, I don't like your cold relationship, I don't like you just being lukewarm. I like passionate worship where you're broken before me and you're crying out in gratitude in true worship to me". How long has it been? God, I want to be broken before you. I don't just want to be somebody who goes to church and sits through church and leaves just like I came, but break this vessel until the love of God and the compassion and the anointing of God is flowing out of my life".
I'm going to tell you something, there's a difference between a vessel that's been broken, and you've been through what you've been through so that God could break the vessel and pour out His love. I think it would be in order in this room and wherever you are listening to me today to say, "Lord, I want to live a life worth remembering". He said, "Wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world as a memorial to her, for what she has done, I want her to be remembered". You can live that kind of life. When's the last time your children saw you worship God in spirit and in truth? Stand to your feet all over this room.
Now, the Lord is calling people as sure as I'm standing here this morning. He told me that there would be chosen vessels who don't even know what He's put in you. You don't even know what you're capable of and you'll never know until Jesus is Lord of your life. He's not asking you, "Well, Pastor, I've got an addiction, I've got this problem, I've got that problem," He's not asking you to do what you can't do. You can't quit. You can't change. You can't stop. He's asking you to do what you can. You can accept Him as Savior. You can yield your life to Him. You can receive the Holy Spirit and His empowerment today. He's asking you to do it in the face of criticism, because the thing that'll hold people back is: What will people think? What will people say? You can do it in the face of criticism. You can do it on time, and this is your time. Boy, I feel this. This is your moment. This is your altar call. He's put stuff in you that He's going to use for His glory, and so today is your call. Today is your altar service. Today is a miracle day for your life. Let's pray this prayer.
Lord Jesus, I surrender my life to you. I believe you are the Savior. You are the way, the truth, and the life. I confess you as my Lord, as my Savior. Thank you for washing me clean. My sins are gone. You nailed them to the cross and declared I am free. I receive the Holy Spirit and His power, and today I do what I can and I rely on the Holy Spirit to do what I cannot do. I thank you, Lord, that from this day forward I will live a life worth remembering. For all eternity, you will know my name and you will call me your child. In Jesus' name, I am saved.