Pastor Travis Burkett
To start, let me ask you: What is a game-changer?
Definition: An event, procedure, or person that affects a significant shift in the current manner of doing or thinking about something. It’s one who significantly alters the way things are done. One who looks for effective methods, plans, and strategies to further something. You may think of people like Elon Musk, Michael Jordan, or Ronald Reagan.
In the Bible, we see how God enables people to be game-changers:
Noah was faithful to build despite opposition.
Abraham was enabled to be the father of many nations.
Moses was given a unique position in order to be an unusual leader.
Gideon was enabled by God despite his reluctant doubt.
David was enabled to be a great leader despite his pride.
Job was enabled to be true to God despite Satan’s tests.
Joash was enabled to be spared as a baby to one day be king.
Nehemiah was a simple cupbearer but was given vision by God.
Anna was enabled to be patient and anticipate the one day redemption of our Lord.
See, they each had a different purpose but all had a game-changing perspective. What was it? They all had a heart directed towards God.
In the Bible, I think of someone who had a perspective-shifting experience, her name is Mary Magdalene. She was probably the least expected to do anything for God. Her story goes like this: She was born in a town called Magdala. It was a booming town not far from Capernaum. However, it had a bad reputation because of the prostitution in the town. Now, there is no proof that Mary was involved but the fact is, she was from a rough town with a lot of sin problems. Those problems led to something tragic: The Bible says that seven demons (fallen angels) possessed her! Now, seven is a number suggesting “completeness.” This is implying that these spirits dominated Mary.
The Bible says that Jesus comes to find Mary and heals her of these demons. Mary’s life was saved and her love for Christ was only beginning. When we read Scripture, there weren’t many who loved Jesus like Mary. Her life was consumed with following and serving Jesus. In reality, she was the furthest from being able to be used by God. She was a castaway from a rough town. She had problems (literally demons)! Yet, the Bible actually depicts Mary as pure. One who was deeply afflicted before Jesus is viewed as pure because of Jesus. Let me tell you, friend, God has a plan for you that your scars/past/present can’t overshadow.
1. Her Past Didn’t Control Her Life
Mary was a Jewish woman from the sinful fishing town. Yet, her name is mentioned twelve times in the Gospels (more than any single apostle). Before JESUS, she was demon-possessed, but after she met JESUS she was determined to pursue Him. Before JESUS, she was guilty of sin but after she met JESUS, she was found innocent and pure. Before JESUS, she was rejected but when she met Jesus she was recognized. Friend, find encouragement that Jesus takes our past and creates in us a purpose!
2. Her Dedication to Follow (Luke 8:1-3)
The Bible says that these women helped to support Jesus’ ministry out of their own means. Mary’s dedication is displayed by her actions. She gave her time to follow Jesus. She gave her means out of generosity. Let me ask, how dedicated are we to follow Jesus?
Mary’s dedication was evident by those around her. In John 11:20-27, we see Martha come to Jesus in desperation for her brother. She says, Lord, if you had been here… My brother wouldn’t have died…. But, I know that whatever I ask of God, you will give it… If it’s your will. Jesus says, “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” Look at Martha’s words: “Yea, Lord: I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God,” There is no doubt that Mary’s testimony paved the way for Martha to also become a believer in Jesus. Let me ask, how is your dedication to follow Jesus creating ways for Christ to shine through you?
3. His Presence in Her Changed Everything (Mark 16:9)
Mark 16:9, “Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.”
The first person that sees Jesus in His resurrected body is the woman who may have the most scars. She gave herself to His mission. She sacrificed her means. She followed Him to the cross when others fled. She hurried to the tomb when others were hidden. She rushed to share what she’d seen when Jesus was risen!
It’s kind of funny that the first to tell the full Gospel story (Jesus was risen), was the one that was maybe the first that others wrote off. Friend, God wants to shift your perspective and create in you a game-changing purpose to live out the mission that He has for our lives. Don’t allow your limitations to hinder His work through your life.