Sunday, July 8, 2018

Expensive Gift

Expensive Gift
July 9, 2018
Matthew 26:9  "'This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.'"

Jesus had a circle of people close to him, not just the 12 disciples. Mary and Martha were two women who were constants in this stories about His life. Little is known about the two women, except that they were sisters and had a brother whom Jesus raised from the dead, Lazarus. Mary is believed to have been a woman of the night, someone who sold her body in exchange for money. Mary was likely the wayward sister. But despite her background, she came to accept the forgiveness of her sins and the salvation that Jesus offered her. And thus, she became similar to what you might call a friend and disciple of Jesus as well.

But before the forgiveness of her lifestyle, she made her money through detestable means. Coming to the knowledge and understanding of the Lord, she had to have given up that lifestyle, that way of earning a living. Having turned over a new leaf, she ended up living in the same household as her sister Martha as well as brother Lazarus, when Jesus comes to dinner. At that dinner was a notable event, Mary anointed Jesus with expensive perfume. Think about how she got that expensive perfume for a moment. She sold her body to men, in exchange for money that she used to buy that expensive perfume, and then would wear the expensive perfume to attract more men, keeping the circle of her income flowing. Now, she had expensive perfume and no income. That lifestyle was gone. Did she have any other skills to earn money? It is doubtful, since she chose to sell her body as the best means for earning a living. And what does she do with that perfume? She doesn't sell it to provide income for herself, she doesn't sell it and donate the money to the poor, she poured it on Jesus. The disciples complained about the waste, but Jesus chastised them, suggesting it was a perfectly fine give, though very expensive. 

That perfume represented a lot for Mary.  In keeping it and even wearing the perfume, she would be reminded of her old lifestyle. But she needed the money, too. She couldn't afford to just dump it all out in one setting. She needed the income. In the least she should have sold it to help provide for herself. But instead of providing for herself, she dumped it all out in one setting, perfume that was purchased through her promiscuous lifestyle. Be Jesus appreciated the gift. He didn't see it a waste of resources. He was honored by the expensive gift. He did not appreciate the gift because it was expensive, He appreciated the gift because of how much if cost Mary to give it away. 

I'm not going to ask you how much the most expensive gift cost that you've given to the Lord, but  I will ask how much it actually cost you. What did you have to give up in order to give the gift to Jesus? It cost Him His life to give you the gift of salvation, what is the total of your personal expense? Maybe it isn't about a dollar amount as much as it is a heart amount. Mary put her heart in it, in pouring the expensive perfume on Him. In essence, she was dumping our her entire life out for Him, as now she would have nothing left at all. She was now without income, or a source of future income, completely dependent on her brother and sister. All she has was the forgiveness of sins and her salvation.

You likely have more than just the forgiveness of your sins and salvation. You have far more than Mary did at this point in her life. She could not afford that expensive gift, but the Lord honored her for it. From an economic point of view and applying the same wisdom that the disciples applied, she should not have used up the perfume that night. It wasn't the right thing to do at the same time is was completely the right thing to do. She gave Him the most expensive gift she could, because her relationship with Him was worth far more than a year's salary. So, I'll ask again, how much has it cost you to give that gift to the Lord?

Don't take my word for it; look it up: Matthew 26:6-13, Luke 7:37-38, John 11:2 & 12:1-8

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