But Jesus accepted the woman’s gift, and knew what it cost her
Matthew 26:6-16 Meanwhile [while Jewish leaders plotted his death], Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon … While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. … Then Judas Iscariot, one of the disciples, went to the leading priests and asked, “How much will you pay me to betray Jesus to you?” And they gave him thirty pieces of silver. From that time on, Judas began looking for an opportunity to betray Jesus.
Hebrews 12:15-16 Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal.
If you’ve been following this blog or have read Karis, All I See Is Grace, you know Karis identified closely with the woman in this story, seeing her life as perfume broken and poured out over the Body of Christ, the church.
But today I want to ask a simple question. Today, what choice will you and I make?
Every day we face the choice to offer ourselves to the Lord, pouring out our time, our talent, our treasure to honor him. Or to try to use our special status with God, as his beloved children, for our own benefit, twisting the Gospel into a tool of manipulation or a means of personal gain.
We see this blatantly on television, in politics, and sadly, in churches. In our own lives it may be more subtle, especially if we value the prestige that goes along with appearing godly or spiritual. What it costs us to actually be godly, following Jesus into places where we may suffer criticism and misunderstanding like the woman in this story, is a choice more difficult to make.
Whose approbation do we value most, Jesus’s or other people’s? Do we each have one or two or three people who know what that struggle looks like for us personally, what our specific vulnerabilities are to the enemy’s wiles? Each of us needs someone with whom we are transparent, who can support us in choosing God’s grace.
Because the choice comes to each one of us, whether in big ways or small.