“But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” – Mark 14:6-9
It’s a familiar Bible story – one that is told in Sunday School and beyond. A woman comes to where Jesus is staying, breaks a jar of perfume in order to pour it all out on Jesus’ feet. She doesn’t save any for herself – in act of of selfless devotion, she gives it all. Immediately, the ridicule and questions begin. Other people have better ideas for how the expensive offering should have been spent; others have designs on what worship should look like. But Jesus silences her critics. He calls what she does “beautiful.” She gave unabashedly and without reserve – for Him.
Many of us may have wanted a stronger response from our Lord and Savior. He instead starts talking about His impending death and burial. We may be tempted to think the defense is insignificant in light of the reprimand she incurred, and the likely embarrassment that followed. But then He concludes with these words – “wherever the gospel is proclaimed int he whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
His response wasn’t insignificant; His defense wasn’t inadequate. He knew what no one else in the room did. Her act would be a representation of the kind of selfless devotion Christ expected from all of His followers. The defense wasn’t completed in that moment, instead it would resound in eternity as her act was encapsulated in Scripture and told and retold through the ages.
Similarly, we may be tempted to think that we aren’t getting our dues for the sacrifices that we make for our King. It may seem that the rewards and the praise don’t measure up to the hurdles that we face. The costs may seem to far outweigh the benefits. However, we should remember that the accolades that we receive here aren’t the end of the story. The justice we receive on this Earth isn’t the final arbitration. The true measure of significance is how the things we do echo in eternity. It’s their eternal worth that determines their value; not the temporal evaluation.
So let us strive for eternal significance. Let us approach even the everyday activities as an opportunity to sacrifice “us” for the sake of our King. May we give all – without reserve and without calculation. May He consider our acts, and call them “beautiful.” Regardless of whether they are acclaimed on this Earth, may they be worthy of commendation in the throne room of Heaven.