“Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” John 12:3
As we examine this passage in the last week of Jesus’ life, this verse is clearly pointed to as a way that Mary chose to worship Jesus. Judas is rebuked for his false concern about where the money could be spent and Jesus tells Judas in verse 8, “Leave her alone…you will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
I can imagine how this played out: everyone was probably milling about, waiting for the meal to be served. Maybe Jesus was talking or relaxing. Suddenly a strong pleasant smell filled the room. Before anyone could stop her, Mary had poured out a perfume that would have been worth a year’s wages. As Mary wiped the excess perfume with her hair, the people in the room would have begun to look and realized what had been done. Most people would have had the same reaction, that she wasted a lot of expensive perfume. Only Judas was bold enough to say it, because he was looking out for himself.
There is a point that we should take from this though. It involves the way we choose to worship our Lord. Mary chose to worship extravagantly. She thought nothing of the cost to herself or her family. She only knew that she loved Jesus and she may have realized that her times to worship him at his feet were coming quickly to an end. She reacted to this opportunity by giving him all that she had at great cost to herself.
So, what is the application to our own lives? Perhaps it is to reflect on the way we worship. I am not talking here about what we give financially, although there is a lesson there too. Rather, I am talking about the way we worship with our lives. We don’t have the opportunity to sit at the feet of Jesus. So we must worship him in different ways. We worship him with our time. The way we spend our time says a lot about the way we worship. How much time do you give to Jesus each week? Is it the few hours you make it to church each week or is it more? The way we treat others around us can be an opportunity to worship. Notice how Jesus treated the weary and downtrodden. How do you treat those around you? Do you even see them or do you pass them by in too much of a hurry to notice? Finally, do you worship, as Mary did, without regard to cost? Again, not the monetary cost, but maybe it costs you in other ways. Did you miss out on a promotion at work because you were not like everyone else? Do you get funny stares at restaurants when you pray before your meal? Have you given up something that you may have enjoyed because you knew it wasn’t what God would have you do?
If so, then continue to worship extravagantly. I promise you, He is worth the cost of whatever you have to give.
Lord Jesus, help me to worship you extravagantly! Give me a desire for the things that please you and an ability to worship you in a way that is as pleasing and fragrant as the perfume that Mary poured on your feet. Thank you for loving us so much even when we don’t worship you as we should. In your name, Amen.