Mark 14:4-9: Fire extinguishers!

“4 Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly. ‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’ ” NIV UK

You know the definition of a fanatic? Someone who loves Jesus more than I do!

I remember a girl joining a church. She was quite young; just a student at the time. But her love for the Lord was so evident, and her expression of praise so extravagant, that at times you almost couldn’t take your eyes off her. In worship services she was a kind of contemporary equivalent of Mary anointing Jesus, weeping, and wiping His feet with her hair. She was different to most people in church. I think, sadly, she attracted some criticism.

Some people are fire lighters while others are fire extinguishers. Mary had her critics. But Jesus saw her heart. He had a different viewpoint (6) to those who were spraying foam all over her worship (4,5). They criticised; He commended. He gladly received what she sincerely offered.

‘When we pour out our gifts, skills, and possessions for Jesus, people will also say that we are wasting our lives. What we do for Jesus the world considers wasted. But, in fact, nothing is ever wasted on Jesus. Let us also learn from this story never to criticise the expressions and works of love done by others.’ Tom Hale: ‘Applied New Testament Commentary’, p.272.