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.”
I have three girls, and I have loved watching them grow and experiment with make up, fashion sense and perfume. I loved the way they smelled when they were younger, fresh out of the bath getting ready for bed, slathering on the yummy scented lotion from Bath & Body Works. My girls are grown up now, have a taste for more expensive fragrances than Bath & Body Works, and are savvy in the perfume and cosmetics department. I am not as attune to make up know-how, and a few years ago, my oldest daughter made the comment that she was upset that I didn’t teach them more about hair and make up and instead only taught them about God! There are certain perfumes and lotions that will always remind me of those early days with the girls becoming women, and we share a favorite perfume – Scent of Peace. The lovely smell will always stir my heart for my girls.
When Simon the Leper hosted a dinner in Jesus’ honor, a woman in attendance approached Jesus holding her dearest possessions. She enthusiastically and lavishly poured out her perfume on her Savior, anointing first His head and then His feet, weeping and wiping Him with her hair. What a beautiful picture of surrender at the feet of Christ!
This precious woman gave limitlessly to God all that she had. She broke her alabaster jar in order to release the treasure inside and sacrifice it for her King. I remember trying to teach my daughters restraint in those early days, and the disciples at this party did the same thing, scolding her for recklessly pouring out her goods when they could be sold in order to benefit the poor.
I’m so thankful for a God who embraces those who bow with humility and awe at His feet and quiets the criticisms that assail our generosity. I am humbled by how this woman shared the entirety of her most valued gifts for the benefit of Christ. Am I pouring out all that I have for His glory? Do I treat God more like Simon the Leper: opening my door for Him to come in, but not greeting Him with a kiss, an anointing, a sacrificial gift? I think my heart tends to be positioned like Simon, feeling like my open door is enough, taking His presence for granted in my home.
I love that God encourages audacious giving. He is a God of multiplication, and He takes our gifts and increases them for His glory. My prayer is that I would find my alabaster jar– my most precious gift – and break it before Jesus, anointing Him with the oil of my perfume without a thought of the cost.