Background Story: Jesus is days away from celebrating the Passover with His disciples and then being arrested, beaten, and nailed to a cross. But before this happens, we read this beautiful story of a woman in the gospel of Mark.
Read Mark 14: 1-9
Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 2 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
3 While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.
4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.
6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Big Idea: These blessings are not mine.
We may never be Billy Graham and preach to millions of people or a billionaire able to donate millions to charity. God does not compare my capacity to give, whether financially or with my talents to the person beside me. Jesus said that this woman, “did what she could.” (v8)
We see another woman a few chapters back with a similar story. “Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on’.” (Mark 12: 43-44)
In our relationship with God, He asks us to bring our time, talents, resources, and entire life as an offering to Him. We hold on tight to these things because we view them as mine…it’s my money, my time, my life, my future. Sometimes we can be like those seagulls on Nemo…mine, mine, mine. But did we form ourselves with these talents and gifts? Did we bless ourselves with financial resources? The Bible says, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” (James 1:17)
Everything we have and everything we are came from God our Father. In turn, He asks that we take these blessings that He gave us and present them back with an open hand for Him to use as He chooses. The Christian walk is just that…an open hand.