Angi Aymond

Growing in wisdom. Walking in grace.

Don’t Waste Your Love

Matthew 26, Mark 14, John:12

It was six days before Passover, and the crowds were filling Jerusalem. Jesus and His disciples arrived in Bethany, just outside the city. It was safer for Him there, for just a bit longer.

Bethany was the village where Mary and Martha lived. Where Lazarus, the one called from his own grave, lived again.  

A dinner was given at the home of Simon the Leper. (With Simon too familiar a name, this Simon had earned the moniker for clarity. So glad my past isn’t my nickname!) To be sure, Jesus had healed this Simon, for he would not have been hosting a dinner party otherwise.

Gathered at Simon’s home were Jesus, his twelve disciples, and the Bethany siblings. As the men reclined around the table, Martha scurried, serving her Guest of Honor. The others, too. Though not her home, Martha was her usual busy self. Oh, she was prone to mumble, but no one mentioned her mumbling tonight.

The conversation then turned to Mary.

Here’s where I stopped reading for just a moment.

Because the writers of the gospels jumped right to the point, I needed to let my mind imagine. I wanted to fill in some details, not to change the story’s purpose,  but to let the scene come to life. To feel it as deeply as I could. So, I invite you to imagine with me.

As the conversation lingered, Martha cleared the table, but Mary remained at the feet of Jesus. Always at His feet.

Mary reached inside her tunic to find the alabaster jar she had tucked away. The jar was filled with an exquisite perfume; it could have been her dowry, her everything.

Smashing the jar against the table, she broke it —she wasn’t saving some for later.

Letting down her hair (Gasp!), she poured this perfume on the feet of Jesus and brushed those beautiful feet with her hair. (Gasp!) The air was thick with its fragrance.

Judas Iscariot could not contain his indignation. He scolded Mary for such a waste! A few others joined his misinformed rebuke.

But it was too late. Though Mary’s heart pounded and her face flushed, it was done. Spilled. Poured out.

Did Mary know? Did she know what the apostles could not let themselves believe? That Jesus was going to suffer and die? I believe she did.

She’d sat at His feet and heard Him teach. She had listened with her heart and her mind. Mary had experienced the incredible love of Jesus. And in return, nothing was too much for Him. Nothing was too extravagant for her Savior.

Jesus spoke to the harsh opinions of the others, for He was always her defender. He said she had poured her treasure upon Him, preparing for His burial. He added, “She did what she could.” And “people will talk about her wherever the gospel was preached.”

And, well, here we are.

Extravagant worship was Mary’s legacy. Her love wasn’t wasted.

An extravagant love for Jesus is never wasted.

In reading the gospels side by side, I noticed a few things I had not seen before. This anointing did not happen at the home of Mary and Martha. In John’s gospel, it’s easy to make that assumption and wonder if there were two separate anointings that week, but I do not believe there were. (Yes, I could be wrong.)

What is the point of this shallow rabbit hole where I have taken us all?

My observation is this: Mary wasn’t sitting at the feet of Jesus when she suddenly became moved by what He was saying and then slipped out to her bedroom to get her alabaster jar. Mary came to the home of Simon the Leper with her perfume, having already decided to give Jesus her everything.

If this perfume had indeed been her dowry, she was giving up much more than exquisite perfume. She was giving up a year’s wages but also the prospect of marriage. Without her dowry, no one would have been beating down her door to marry her. And while that lands differently today, it was a big deal then.

Mary gave Jesus everything; what she held in her hands and her future dreams and provision.

Would I have been as brazen as Mary? Would I have given Jesus all I had and hoped to have?

Or would I have poured just a smidgen? Just a drop? Withholding what I might need later, being a good steward of what I had been given.

Would I have done nothing, believing what I had to give was too little? Too insignificant.

Or would I have pulled back, afraid to show my love, too concerned about what others might think? Avoiding a scene, a scandal.

What about now?

Do I worship extravagantly? Do I lay all that I have at His feet? My pride? My dreams? My talent and treasure?

Do I do what I can or complain that what I can give is of too little value?

What about you, my friend?

What’s in your alabaster jar?

Heavenly Father, just as Mary sat at the feet of Jesus, I long to be in Your presence. To rest in Your arms.

As we reflect upon the last days of our Savior, give us eyes to see not only those who were there but hearts to see ourselves as well. And with honesty Lord, may we confess what needs confessing and move toward You with our alabaster jars. Ready to pour out for You what we have. So that our lives would be a pleasing sacrifice to You. Amen.

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