Mark 14:1-31; 1 Kings 8; Hosea 9:17-10:15
Her reputation was questionable. She probably shouldn’t have been able to make it in the door, but perhaps Simon the Leper was a little bit loose in his standards. As a leper Simon had once been an outcast. It appears that he had been healed and was now enjoying a bit of prosperity. Maybe his days as an outcast gave him a bit more compassion for other outcasts. She broke through security, came up to Jesus and took an expensive flask of perfume and poured it on Jesus’ head. This was Samuel anointing David with oil proclaiming his kingship; this was a woman pouring perfume normally saved for burial on Jesus – perhaps proclaiming His upcoming death – out of devotion and thanksgiving. Needless to say, this act of worship was criticized: “But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.’ And they criticized her sharply.” (Mark 14:4-5) In fact, this act was the final straw for Judas who then agreed to betray Jesus. Those who support God’s work always run into criticism about how their time or their money could be better spent. If we are followers of Christ, though, two things should show our commitment: the way we spend our money and the way we spend our time. Obviously, we must work and pay our bills. How many of our bills are due to self-indulgence? Do we plan our spending so that we have money to give to God’s work? Do we plan our free time so that we can support God’s work? Others may not realize those parts of our plans, especially our giving if we do it right, but the criticism may come as they look at our clothing, our house or our vehicles. Fear not. The unknown woman was criticized for giving; Judas was praised for his reaction to her gift. We can deal with the criticism.
Lord, it’s so hard to set priorities in life. There are so many things that I want to do and have. Help me to see the work that needs to be done and be obedient to You in how I spend the time and money You provide. Remind me of Your presence in my daily life and let me show gratitude for that in all that I do.