Alabaster

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Matthew 26:6-13

I heard this story again tonight and I had some questions.  Why did she have this perfume in the first place?  What was she initially saving it for?  In the other gospels, it is mentioned that the perfume is worth a year’s wages.  Surely, she did not buy it herself.  I imagine it was a gift.  Here, I veer into Wild Mass Guessing but here’s my thought: That perfume was part of or all of her dowry.  Or perhaps, it was her inheritance.  It was her ticket to a better life but she takes it and “wastes” it on Jesus.  The people in the room could think of many better uses for that perfume but it ended up on Jesus.

It’s like life.  We all have talents and desire in our lives that are valuable in the sight of others.  For me, it’s my talent at mathematics.  I have a master’s degree in it.  And the world has lots of ideas as to how I should use it.  But what does Jesus want me to do with it?  He wants me to “waste” it on him.  Philippians 3:8 says, “I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ.”

But it is not wasted.  In the story, the perfume permeates the room.  The smell of Jesus radiates throughout the room.  You see, when we pour out our gifts on Jesus.  He will radiate those gifts and passions throughout the world around you.  Much more so than you could do yourself.  Jesus wants to use those talents and desires through us.

So Lord, help me step aside and let you walk through me in my journey through life.  Radiate my talents and passions throughout the world around me so that they turn back to you.  I want people to “smell you on me”.

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