Friday, March 8, 2013

Who's Wasting Now?

And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 
as He sat at meat, there came a woman 
having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; 
and she brake the box, and poured it on His head. 
And there were some that had indignation within themselves, 
and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? 
For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, 
and have been given to the poor. 
And they murmured against her. 
And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? 
she hath wrought a good work on Me. 
For ye have the poor with you always, 
and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: 
but Me ye have not always. 
She hath done what she could: 
she is come aforehand to anoint My body to the burying. 
Verily I say unto you, 
Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached 
throughout the whole world, 
this also that she hath done 
shall be spoken of for a memorial of her. 
And Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, 
went unto the chief priests, to betray Him unto them. 
And when they heard it, they were glad, 
and promised to give him money. 
And he sought how he might conveniently betray Him.
~Mark 14:3-11

"Why waste such expensive perfume?!
It could have been sold for a year's wages
and the money given to the poor!"
The economic value they placed on worship --
it was of far more value than that.

Here is a woman who, like the widow and her half penny,
gave of her substance.
She gave what cost her to give.
Her worship took tangible and fragrant form.
Spiritual worship poured out in material goods.
And not poured out in a way that could be benefited from physically.
This was no meat sacrificed and then served to all as a feast.
It was just dumped on Him to complete 'waste'.
She didn't even have an IRS form
that would let her claim the loss against her taxes.

The indignant ones were angry that they didn't get to control the largesse.
They didn't get to be the distributors of someone else's generosity.
So they berated her 'wastefulness'.

Is it possible to waste any good thing given to Him?
He notices widows who give half pennies.
He rewards cups of water that cost so little to share.
Alms come up as a memorial to Him.
He eavesdrops on the words of those who love Him,
and has them recorded in a book of remembrance.
He keeps a diary of words of love and worship.
Collects our tears in a bottle.
Counts our hairs.
Keeps track of sparrows who fall, and clothes lilies.
He waits anxiously for the prodigal,
ready to throw a lavish party at the return of the waster.
Killing the fatted calf over him -- to feed the wasted son.
Pouring out His own life to redeem thieves and murderers.
Talk about excess.
A year's wages is nothing to Him.
But He weighs the heart in the gift.
And hers poured it all out on Him.

Judas's response to this?
To sell Jesus for silver.
This woman 'wastes' a year's wages on Him.
Judas sells Him for thirty pieces of silver.
Four months' wages for a skilled laborer.
Who's wasting now?

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