“And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.”(Mark 14:3-5)
Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, is once again being criticized for her devotion to Jesus. The first time is when Jesus came to her house. Martha was very upset because Mary wasn’t helping to serve the guests, and instead was sitting at the feet of Jesus, listening intently to His teaching. Jesus told Martha that Mary made a great choice (Luke 10:42). In Mark 14 it was some of the disciples (most likely led by Judas) who criticized Mary for anointing Jesus with an extremely expensive oil. Jesus once again defended Mary by saying in verses 6 and 8, “Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.”
There are several valuable lessons in this story that are applicable to all of us.
(1) Don’t get so busy with serving and doing that you don’t listen to Jesus speaking to you. Mary clearly understood that Jesus would soon die. The others heard Him talk about it, but either didn’t believe it, or chose to ignore it.
(2) Don’t ever waste time trying to defend yourself to others in regard to your ministry to God. Mary let Jesus do the defending, and so should you. When unjustly criticized, ignore it and go on. A war of words with those who don’t understand won’t accomplish anything.
(3) Don’t ever take time to count the cost of your service to Jesus. It simply doesn’t matter. Obey the prompts of the Holy Spirit to give of your time, talent, and treasure to God. We don’t know if Mary was rich or poor, we do know “she did what she could.” Have you?
(4) When the Holy Spirit prompts you to do something, act and obey immediately. Never wait for a better time to help someone or to tell someone about Jesus.
To sum it up, Mary’s service to Jesus was TIMELY, SACRIFICIAL, and INSIGHTFUL. Could you say that about your service or ministry to Jesus?