How Much Is Too Much?
Can you picture this scene in your mind? It’s about a week before the Crucifixion, and Christ is visiting at the home of His good friends, Lazarus and his sisters. Lazarus is there at the table with Jesus, being served by Martha, who has prepared and is now serving one of her feasts for which she was undoubtedly famous. But where is Mary? She should be helping her sister! Instead, she is kneeling before Jesus with a pint of expensive perfume, and she pours the whole bottle on his feet.
The Bible says, “And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” (John 12:3) You can imagine it was! You can see the heads swivel. “Where is that aroma coming from?” And then the gasps as they realize what she’s done. This is not a wealthy family, after all. “Isn’t this a little excessive,” they wonder. But it’s Judas who speaks – and not at all favorably: “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? It was worth a year’s wages.” (John 12:5)
Judas and Mary were not on the same wavelength at all. For Mary, nothing was enough for her Lord. This extravagant act could only hint at the depth of devotion in her heart. Judas, on the other hand, was devoted only to Judas. Verse 6 enlightens us: “He did not say this because he cared about the poor but because he was a thief.”
Would it be too offensive to say that we, too, are thieves? Have we ever withheld from the Lord what was His – for isn’t it all His? Aren’t we also deceivers at times, pretending to have concern for others when we really have only our own interests at heart? Mary loved and worshiped her Lord even before she knew He would give His life to save her from her sins. We who are on the other side of Calvary must have an even greater sense of gratitude. Let us ask the Lord’s forgiveness for our selfish and cold hearts and His enablement to give of ourselves and our resources without restraint.
Prayer: Our Father, Your love is incomprehensible and Your compassion without limit. Forgive us when we take advantage of Your patience. Teach us to love You wholeheartedly and unreservedly and our neighbors as ourselves. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Blessings on your Stewardship Journey!