John 12:3-8 (NIV)
3 Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. […]
4 But one of his disciples, Judas Iscariot, who was later to betray him, objected, 5 “Why wasn’t this perfume sold and the money given to the poor? […]
8 “Leave her alone,” Jesus replied. […] 8 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
There’s no question Jesus has called us to serve the poor.
But this story in John demonstrates something interesting. Namely, how obeying a commandment such as feeding the poor may not glorify God as much as you’d think.
Imagine what would have happened if Mary had sold the perfume and the disciples used the money to meet the needs of the poor? That would have been awesome. It would have totally honored and glorified God (Matthew 25:40).
The problem, as Jesus said, is that the poor will always be around. But Jesus and the opportunity Mary had would not be.
While there would be countless Christians able to serve and meet the needs of the poor, Mary was the only one uniquely positioned to anoint Jesus with perfume.
And she seized it to Jesus’ honor.
John 17:4 (NIV)
4 I have brought you glory on earth by finishing the work you asked me to do.
God is glorified when we are obedient to his voice.
The truth is, I could spend the rest of my life crusading and fighting against human sex trafficking but bring God zero glory. Similar to if Mary had sold the perfume and fed the poor. There are plenty of other Christians who God has called to that. I’m just not one of them.
In my own way, I can, however, anoint Jesus with perfume.
What has God asked you to do? What has God uniquely positioned you for? What jar of perfume do you have?
John 12:3b (NIV)
3 . . . And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
I pray our lives glorify God with the fragrance of that perfume.