The woman of Bethany, you and me

What would you do for Jesus?

Before answering that question, picture this: After a long day of teaching and going about town, imagine Jesus and the disciples reclining at a table together.   Unannounced, a woman that heard where Jesus was enters the house and pours a bottle of perfumed ointment that cost 300 days of labor (300 denari) on Jesus’s head.

Let’s think about the cost of that bottle of ointment in this way… With minimum wage now at $7.25 /hr, a work day being 8 hr long, and multiply that by 300 days… For us, that would be similar to pouring $17,400* on Jesus’s head and “only” having his shiny hair to prove it!  No extra mouths were fed, no new ministries were started, no church fund for mission trips was increased, etc.

The disciples are in an outrage and scold the woman!  They talk of what they could have done for the poor with the cost of that bottle.  In their minds–and probably in ours too– her use of that precious and costly resource was not the most practical, effective, nor successful.   But here’s what Jesus said to the disciples, what he still says to you and me:

“Leave her alone.  Why do you trouble her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.  For you will always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them.  But you will not always have me.  She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial.  And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her” (Mark 14:6-9).

For that lady in Bethany, Jesus was worth everything to her, and she did what she could with what she had.  She didn’t know God’s purpose for her actions at that time–that she was preparing Jesus’s body for burial.  On the other hand, she knew Jesus could heal the sick and feed the poor, and He didn’t need her money to do that.  In this way, her faith was simple, yet it was strong.  She brought him her heart, her devotion, and revealed her trust in God, knowing that He would provide for her needs and the needs of others.

The truth is that I’m still trying to understand that last verse…how wherever the Gospel is proclaimed throughout the whole, wide world–whether in the Amazon rainforest, a house church in Africa, a secret meeting in China, a classroom on a college campus in your state, or your family’s own dinner table–this woman’s actions are being told.  Maybe it deals with her part in preparing him for burial and then he was resurrected, or maybe it’s because of the love that she showed for him… But what is amazing to consider is this: faith in, hope of and love for Jesus will endure beyond our actions, even beyond our name.  We never learn the name of that lady in Bethany.  But even 2,000 years later, we hear of her outrageous love for Jesus and know that it’s being multiplied throughout the Body of Christ as more and more with that same, radical love for Jesus spread the Gospel across the globe.

So my question today is this:  How does the story of the lady in Bethany (Mark 14:3-9, Matthew 26:2-5) affect you and me today?  Knowing what Jesus thought of that woman’s actions, what do we think he would say about our actions?  Lastly and most importantly, what is Jesus worth to you and to me and how does His worth in our lives compel us to live?

Praying your day is filled with SONshine,

Sarah. signature

 

 

NOTES:

*(that’s not actually what 300 denari would cost today, but it’s just a comparative term…)

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“If you didn’t have to worry about money…”

One day my mom and I went to lunch, and this “table topic” was sitting on our table.  And so we asked one another that very question.  Mom went first, and she answered that she would play the piano in nursing homes, rehab centers, etc and maybe even get a masters in counseling or psychology.  After all, my mom has an incredible talent for playing the piano, but even bigger than this God-given talent is her heart for the weak and the lonely.

Most people that know me well would describe me like this: firstly, that I am “Sweet Sarah” and secondly, that I am an idealist, a dreamer.  Excuse me now if too much of my dreamer side comes out here, but I have a question to ask:

Why is it a bad thing to dream big?

Why do we settle for the comfort of what we know rather than dare to do great things

for the glory of God?

I look at my mom, and I see her and all that she does.  She works day in and day out, yes, in a place that she enjoys, but I beg to ask the question: “Mom, why don’t you play the piano at home anymore?  Why don’t you go to a nursing home or to a hospice center on Saturdays to share your gift?  Is life so “busy” with what we “have” to do that we can’t do the things for which God has placed a desire in our heart to do?”

What is keeping Christians from living as God’s word requires?  If the issue is money, why don’t we sell the house and get a smaller one?  If the issue is our obligations, why don’t we prioritize what’s most important?  If the issue is stuff, then why don’t we clear out the clutter?  If the issue is safety, why don’t we see that we are sheep, and He is the great shepherd?  If the issue is reading parts of the Bible that make us feel uncomfortable, then why don’t we erase all that we know and start over again?  Why don’t we value a childlike faith?

Through Isaiah in chapter 55 verses 1-2, the Lord speaks to us today, saying:

“Come, everyone who thirsts, come to the waters;

and he who has no money, come, buy and eat!

Come, buy wine and milk

without money and without price.

Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,

and your labor for that which does not satisfy?”

God is calling each and every single one of us today.  Do you crave something more in your relationship with God?  He is saying to you, “Come and drink!  I am living water.  I am life.”  He doesn’t want your money, and He doesn’t want your worldly success.  He who has no money, come and buy! That is the beauty of the Gospel: you bring nothing to His table yet receive everything in return.  But you have to bring nothing. All that you are laboring for, does that quench the hunger and thirst that you have?  He is offering to you the only thing that will satisfy: His blessing and His love.

Now I leave you with a question.  If you didn’t have to worry about money, what would you do?

Would you do what you are doing today?