It would be honorable to give your all to Jesus, wouldn’t it?
Some might not think so.
Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.
4 Some of those at the table were indignant. “Why waste such expensive perfume?” they asked. 5 “It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!” So they scolded her harshly.
6 But Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. Why criticize her for doing such a good thing to me?7 You will always have the poor among you, and you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me.8 She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time. 9 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.”
- (v.3) “…a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.”
This woman visited Jesus carrying something of high value. It could have been the most valuable item she had and she decided to give it to Him.
She didn’t bargain with Him. She didn’t set the jar at His feet. She took her jar and destroyed it so she could pour the precious perfume over Christ.
The loss of material was not even on her mind. She was more focused on blessing Christ.
- (v. 4-6) “…’Why waste such expensive perfume?’ they asked.
‘It could have been sold for a year’s wages and the money given to the poor!’ So they scolded her harshly.
But Jesus replied, ‘Leave her alone’…“
How often do we criticize the way other Christians follow Jesus because they aren’t doing it up to our standards?
What’s interesting is that those indignant people at the table actually had a good idea. They would have done well by helping the poor. Yet, they totally missed the mark because their focus was not on helping the poor, although that’s what their virtue signaling might imply. They were focused on condemning the woman for not living up to their standards.
Aren’t you glad that Jesus sees your blessings? And that we don’t have to do what the world values because God sees the value in doing good in His name and for His sake? He even defends us!
- (v. 7) “…you can help them whenever you want to. But you will not always have me.“
We often question the quality of a brother or sister’s walk if they are not in the soup kitchen every weekend or are not otherwise working with the less fortunate.
Ironically this is where a lot of believers and unbelievers relate. We are instructed to love others and live as Christ but we also have to be careful about prioritizing good works on earth over living for Christ.
God should be our number one. We are still human, surrounded by humans, so we will always have opportunities to help others. What requires more effort is sacrificing for Jesus, the Man, we cannot even see. (For them, the Man they would soon miss.)
- (v. 8-9) “…she has anointed my body for burial ahead of time…this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.“
Jesus knew she did what she could! Jesus is happy to receive what we can afford to give Him and is understanding about how we give it.
We might think that generosity is not spiritually important if it’s not directly helping the poor. Maybe because we think people can only be poor in money and that our luxury items are better spent in dollars. Whose standards are we living for?
What’s funny about the nameless lady with the jar of spikenard essence is that she was actually helping the poor. Those people poor in sacrifice, poor in appreciation and poor in reticence.
And she’s still important today, to devotional authors, to churches, to some random girl blogging, because she anointed the Savior we find life in. She did not waste any money, at all, because she was able to bless the wealth we call Christ.
This is my second post for Wednesday Wisdoms, a new weekly category that will focus on the Holy Word. These weekly wisdom posts will always include Bible verse, devotional thoughts and encouragement to get into your own quiet time with God.