In our study last week, Judas made a suggestion about a better use for Mary's spikenard than "wasting it on Jesus." His suggestion was in harmony with clear instructions from the Old Testament but it was tainted with a hidden motive...he wanted to steal the money for himself. The question was never really answered however, "What about the poor?" Judas didn't have anyone particular in mind. He used the term "the poor" in the way that many use it today...to raise a level of guilt and angst over the needy of this world. Politicians and preachers do the same thing. Guilt is not a good motivator but it is a strong one. Do you feel guilty for having more than someone else? Do you feel guilty for living in this country? For having a job? For driving a car? Is a vague guilty feeling that hangs like a rain cloud over our heads what God really wants? Is there something worse than poverty? What should we do about the poor? Who are they anyway? We hope to address these questions on Sunday and provide direction and hope from the Word. Thoughts welcome.
Moving from a Judas mindset to a Mary mindset is really quite difficult. Our culture honors efficiency and cost benefit analysis and we often despise "waste." We want to know how to get the most "bang for our buck." We want to stretch our dollars. Mary dumped the equivilant of a year's salary on the feet and head of Jesus (John 12:1-11). Judas and some of the disciples thought it was wasteful. I am tempted to think that way too! But Mary understood who Jesus was, what He would do AND this was an opportunity she would not have again in this life. She may seem impulsive and wasteful to us but Jesus commended her actions and rebuked the disciples. When we really recognize who Jesus is, even our most valued possession is inferior in light of His grace. How are we loving? Are we getting beyond a utilitarian spirit? What can we do to love Him well?