by Maria Rudolph
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He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief, as keeper of the money bag, he used to help himself to what was put into it (John 12:6).
Others always have it easier! It’s easy for other people to volunteer to be part of the church working bee! They don’t have my back problems, and they are stronger than me. It’s easy for other people to give to this mission project; they have higher-paying jobs than me and can afford to give more! It’s easy for other people to discipline their children; theirs aren’t as energetic and tiring as mine! It’s easy for Jesus to walk around with his bunch of holy followers who devoutly learn from him and put it into practice! They were chosen especially by God.
Really? What if I told you that those who volunteer simply do it despite their own physical limitations and time restraints? Or how many people choose to give money despite their financial constraints simply because God put it on their hearts? That every parent thinks every other parent manages better than them? And what if I told you that the disciples around Jesus were less than perfect? In fact, Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, long before he betrayed Jesus, used to be a thief and helped himself to the disciple’s common money.
Jesus, who knows all things (John 21:17), also knows that Judas is a dishonest man and even that he will be the one to betray him. And yet Jesus does not ostracise him but patiently keeps exposing him to his teachings and miracles. When Mary anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume and Judas criticises her for wasting money, Jesus keeps Mary’s deed and its meaning the focus. Jesus will later share the Last Supper and wash Judas’ feet along with the other disciples’.
If Jesus treated Judas the Betrayer in that way, think about what this means for us. ‘God demonstrated his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us’ (Romans 5:8). Instead of continuing our lives thinking other people have it better and easier than us, simply know that for God – who knows all things – you are enough. Christ has died for you regardless. Do not wait for the ‘if only’ moment so you can live up to being a Christ-follower; start with who you are today. You are enough for Christ, who has already died for you. What you have to offer – out of your weakness, poverty and exhaustion – is exactly enough for Christ, who bears with you in love.
What is one situation in which you constantly think you can only do it if something changes? Can you see how God can use you as you are today?
Lord Jesus, you knew of Judas’ flaws and still held him close until the end. You know of my many flaws, yet you have already died for me on the cross and risen again. I can live because you died. Help me trust that I am enough for you, that I don’t have to wait to be someone great, important, powerful or more equipped than now to serve you. That time is now, and I can come to you just as I am. Melt my hardened heart so that instead of continuing in sin like Judas, I can come to you in repentance and receive your forgiveness once again. Amen.