Judas, Mary and a bottle of perfume

PerfumeLast night I was reading about the time Mary poured perfume on Jesus’ feet and wiped it with her hair (John 12). I’ll confess in the past I thought mostly about how icky it would be for me to have perfume in my hair. (Not a fan of perfume OR hair products.) But sometimes God breaks through my wall of nonsense and speaks to my heart.

Judas Iscariot asked why Mary wasted the perfume when they could have sold it and given the money to the poor. Now, Judas probably had ulterior motives, being the keeper of the disciples’ money, but I always kind of thought he made a good point. Wouldn’t it be better to benefit lots of people? Wouldn’t Jesus want that?

And then it hit me. I give to other people what I ought to give to God. Things like time, money and attention. And I do it because God wants me to use my blessings to benefit other people. He wants me to give to the needy, volunteer my time, read Christian novels, write Christian novels, be a representative for Him. Right?

Well, yes. I believe He does. But NOT at the cost of failing to give those things to Him. If I’m reading Christian novels rather than reading the Word, I’m robbing God. If I’m giving money to “good” causes rather than to the work of the Church, I’m robbing God. If I’m spending time in ministry and church activities instead of in worship, I’m robbing God.

I can do both–it’s when I let one take the place of the other that get into trouble. I’m betting Mary not only anointed Jesus’ feet, but also gave to the poor. But she knew which was more important. I can talk all day about what I think my calling is–Christians love to talk about calling! But I need to remember what my purpose is. Worship. Worship of the One and Only God.

Amen.

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