Is He Useful or Worthy?

At our first Revival and Healing service in March, I remember approaching God’s Presence with great expectation, yet having a weighty issue at the back of my mind as I worshipped.

I was hoping that one of our ministry team would release a word of knowledge that would speak directly to my situation. But, as we lingered in worship, the Lord spoke clearly to me and asked, “Are you drawing near because I’m useful or because you love Me?”

“Am I useful or am I worthy?”

Something shifted in my heart and I was immediately reminded of the goodness of God in my life. At that moment, I just abandoned myself in worship and chose to draw near because He was worthy of it all.

Later, on my way home in a taxi, I was reminded of the well-known account of Mary anointing Jesus’ feet in Mark 14. The thing that shocked everybody about this costly act of devotion was its supposed uselessness to Jesus.

To anoint the Master’s feet for $10 or $20 would’ve been acceptable but, for the estimated cost of $200,000? That was way over the top! Did He even need that when His feet could’ve been cleaned and anointed with a much cheaper oil?

Mary didn’t require Jesus to do anything else for her or her family. He had already resurrected her brother Lazarus back from the dead – she was not doing this to earn His favour.

Understand the difference between Judas Iscariot and Mary. Judas wanted Jesus to fulfil his own dreams – he found Jesus useful. But, when the Master did not conform to what he thought a Messiah should do, he started planning his betrayal.

Judas served Jesus to get things; Mary served just to get more of Jesus.

I believe there’s a Judas and a Mary in each of us. There’s a part of us that says, “If I obey and serve God, I’ll get this.” The tragic thing is, if we don’t get what we want, we become bitter, and bitterness corrupts whatever allegiance and love we have for the Lord.

Then there’s another part of us that understands what He has done and responds to Him as the King who deserves all glory and honour.

Elisabeth Elliot said, “God is God. Because He’s God, He’s worthy of my trust and obedience. I’ll find rest nowhere but in His holy will – a will that’s unspeakably beyond my largest notions of what He is up to.”

There’s so much rich feeding of God’s Word each weekend in Cornerstone, and I believe in order to experience personal revival, we don’t just need to hear good teaching. We also need to obey that which we already know, and draw near to Him.

A revelation is an invitation to an encounter with God – revelation serves to transform. John 5:39-40 tells us the Pharisees searched for God in the Scriptures but they were unwilling to come to Him for an encounter.

Let’s not develop intimacy with God just so that He blesses us – that’s professional intimacy. We must come to a place where we draw near because He has given us the most incredible invitation to turn our affection towards Him, to be one who simply loves Jesus.

And, as I was musing over these thoughts on my ride home that day, my handphone buzzed. Someone had texted me with a word of knowledge from the Lord.

Even in my unworthiness, God showed me grace. Even though we’re unworthy, He’s worthy!


Assistant Pastor Elijah Chan

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