On Friday I sat in the allergist’s office with Mark 14. Despite how they come at the cost of two shots in my left arm and one in my right, I look forward to those 30 minutes of relative quiet each month. You know your life is too busy when a 30 minute wait on an allergic reaction feels like rest.
But some seasons of life are just that chaotic, and so here we are in Mark 14.
The woman came into the house of Simon the leper while Jesus was there eating. I imagine she had witnessed the triumphal entry just days before. Perhaps she was one who laid her cloak for a path and waved palm branches and shouted Hosanna! with every square inch of her heart.
Either way, she found Jesus at dinner and brought “an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.” (v. 3)
Some of the other dinner guests, perhaps the miserly Judas Iscariot, were indignant. They grumbled over the wasted perfume, poured out on whom they thought was merely a man and what they thought was an average evening. The occasion seemed less than special, and the display was uninvited.
Their criticism cut me deep. “Why was the ointment wasted like that?”
I hurt because parts of my life feel wasted.
I forget the Spanish a little more every day, and theSkimm provides the depth on my International Affairs each weekday morning. Never mind the Bachelor of Science from Georgia Tech; I have nothing to show for it than a piece of paper, and even that is difficult to locate presently.
I spent the last four years praying and brainstorming and writing a book that I hope to publish and give freely by the end of the month.
I cook meals and clean house, and then we’re hungry again and the toilet rings up.
And I just feel like the woman who spent her whole year’s salary on a flask of costly ointment, only to make haste, break, and pour it all out. Every drop was a day’s wage and she emptied all 300 of them.
But then I hurt for a different reason, and it makes the first hurt vanish.
“Why was the ointment wasted like that?”
My breath catches and my brow furrows and the tears sting as I realize–
they didn’t think Jesus was worth it.
To those standing by, He was impressive but not Incarnate, popular but not Prince of peace, special but not Savior. They were blind to the real truth that any time or talent or treasure poured out on Jesus–it’s not wasted–it’s worship.
Nothing goes wasted on Jesus. Nor by Jesus. Nor with Jesus.
Not the toilet bowl scrubbing or the more-than-frozen-pizza-again cooking or the years’ worth of words freely given.
But. it’s. for. Jesus.
I look into His heart on this page, and I know why He’s included her story “wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world.” It’s like He’s staring into my soul with the words and His eyes just say it all.
I just want you to know I’m worth it, Kate.
And I do! I see Jesus and I know He’s worth all of it. He is worth all the work and the words. And He is so worth all my trust.
Maybe He takes all my little and makes something visibly great,
but maybe He takes all my little and makes something invisibly greater–
a heart eager to bless Him.
Jesus rebuked the inner thoughts of the misers right out loud. Their words were unspoken, but Jesus deals anyway because He loves us all too much to let the heart issues go.
“Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to Me.”
Yes, these are the words I really long to hear. She has done a beautiful thing to Me.
My life can be big or small, long or short, well-known or obscure. All that matters is that my heart is a beautiful thing to Jesus. All that will last is the legacy of what grace has worked in my soul.
Beloved, there is such freedom awaiting us today. We can let go of our dreams and our disappointments about all exactly what our lives should look like. We can ask Jesus to do the work of a beautiful thing in our hearts. And when we feel like our lives are on pause, when we wait and wait for there to be anything at all, we know He who began a good work in us will carry it to completion.
One day, He’ll finish the work and we’ll look full in His face as He says all the words we were made to hear.
Well done, good and faithful servant. You have done a beautiful thing to Me.