Remarkable

I doubt that I would ever consider myself to be a remarkable person. Not that I don’t aspire to, but I’m not sure that there is much I have accomplished thus far in my life to merit having it spoken of for millennia to come.

In Matthew 26, a woman—presumed to be Mary, sister of Lazarus—enters the room where Jesus and his disciples are sharing what was to be their last meal together. She has with her a jar of atrociously expensive perfume which she proceeds to break and empty the contents thereof over Jesus. The disciples, of course are indignant and—as often the case—have missed the point of these actions entirely.

Jesus sets them straight and explains the purpose behind the poured out perfume. The woman has prepared his body for burial in advance. She has honoured him in an extravagant manner. Her actions will be spoken of throughout the ages. We still talk about her selfless extravagance today.

I wonder if I could ever do something like that. I don’t mean being extravagant for the sake of people seeing just how much I can give—that would be wasteful, but to rather be led by the Spirit of God to do something beyond what would ever be expected of me in order to honour Jesus and his Gospel.

Could I ever truly be remarkable for the sake of His call?

Daily Bible reading: Leviticus 10-12, Matthew 26:1-19

Costly

When was the last time you gave until it hurt? Maybe not literally hurt, but pained you to do so?

A woman approached him with an alabaster jar filled with very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She opened the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head.

Mark 14:4b (NCV)

When was the last time you poured out a year’s salary? That’s what this woman did. The perfume she poured over Jesus was worth roughly the annual wage of an average labourer. Of course, Jesus’ disciples balked at the action seeing only the value of the offering and not the offering for what it was:

This woman did the only thing she could do for me; she poured perfume on my body to prepare me for burial.

Mark 14:8 (NCV)

We read the story now and shake our heads at the disciples (as we often seem to do), but the woman is honoured.

I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached in all the world, what this woman has done will be told, and people will remember her.

Mark 14:9 (NCV)

Her costly honour of Jesus put her into history books – literally. She gave a costly gift, not because she wanted to be praised for the expense, but because she wanted to honour Jesus sacrifice with a sacrifice of her own.

Daily Bible reading: Deuteronomy 17-19, Mark 14:1-25

waste

I’ve spent my entire life in church and in all that time have known more than a few people who see it to be wasteful to give to the church. I’ve seen people scoff at extravagant gifts.

…a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

Matthew 26:7 (NIV)

Even Jesus’ disciples were indignant when this woman poured out a priceless offering.

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

Matthew 26:10 (NIV)

When we bring our gifts to the church, no matter what church, big or small, when we give with the attitude of bringing an offering to Jesus, it is never a waste. Where the disciples saw what could have been, Jesus saw and accepted the heart behind the gift.

God has not asked us to question how our gifts are used, but only to give gifts and to give them joyfully and with a willing heart. When given with the right attitude, nothing is wasted.

Daily Bible reading: Leviticus 10-12, Matthew 26:1-19