6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. 8 And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.”
Two incidents of my high school and college days stand out in my mind as I read this passage from Matthew. One instance was with a family member of mine who was very excited about my becoming active in my church youth group. She was excited about my faith, but cautioned me, “I don’t want you to become a fanatic.” This was discouraging, as one might imagine, coming from one of the people I thought of as a believer in my family.
The other instance involved a comment that a minister’s wife once made to me. As I talked with her about some of the exciting things that we were doing in our collegiate ministry, she said to me with that tone of voice that denotes a pat on the head, “You’re young; you still think that you can change the world.” Splash. The cold water came pouring down, again from a source that I expected to be excited about the work of God.
But I’m not the only one to have ever experienced that feeling. In fact, having well-meaning people try to calm you down about your faith and about your sacrifice has been around ever since the days of Jesus. In the passage above, we see a woman who gave more than anyone could have ever imagined to simply worship Jesus. The men around her rebuked her, coming up with more practical uses for her funds than the “wasteful” way that she just poured out her life savings over Jesus.
Look at how Jesus responded to the woman’s gift. Jesus rebuked the complaining disciples and praised the woman. This woman, who had made what many would call an unwise, naïve, fanatical decision had actually honored Jesus more than the men around him who had been following him around for 3 years. This woman, rebuked by the disciples, will, in the words of Jesus, be remembered for as long as Jesus’ story is told.
Here is where I want to be careful. Many people are daily approached by con artists and charlatans who want them to give their time and money to “gospel” causes which contain no gospel and no glory for Christ. We must be wise and careful. We must be sure that we are following Jesus in line with his commands in the word of God.
Once we know of a way to glorify Jesus with our lives, it honors Jesus for us to go all out. Be a fanatic. Believe that God can change the world. Join him in his work. Pour out your life, every last drop, for the sake of Jesus’ glory. Others around you might call you crazy. So what. They called Jesus crazy too. The fact is, Jesus is worthy of your entire life. He is worthy of your entire wealth. He is worthy of everything you have. If you give your all to glorify Jesus, you will never regret that gift. But I assure you, if you keep what you have for yourself instead of giving it for the glory of Christ, you will regret the holding on. Pour out your life for the glory of Christ.