Summary: The Lavish Love of a Devoted Disciples - Total commitment.
“Why This Waste?”
The Lavish Love of a Devoted Disciple
“Why this waste?”
I have often – practically every time I have read this story – recoiled with the disciples! 300 denarii! Mark indicates that she could have sold it for even more than that! 300 denarii was 65 days (2 months) short of a year’s wages! Who can afford to live on 1/6th of your annual income in order to spill perfume!?
Jesus’ response amazes me: Jesus cares about the poor! He’s been among them! He told the rich man to go and sell all of his possessions, give the money to the poor and follow! Why does He restrain the disciples and defend the liberal extravagance – when it could have been so much more practical?
Does anyone here relate to the disciples? Here’s a prime example of what Jesus values being different from what we would naturally value. And we can stay put and say that Jesus was having a weird moment – which would be the easy and wrong thing to do –
or we can say “Lord, I want to value what You value! Pull me up to Your level and help me understand this!”
How are we going to justify the expense of more than 300 day’s wages in such a lavish and temporary extravagance? Here’s how:
I. Mary showed devotion to a Person, the disciples to a principle
So much of my walk with Christ in recent months has been on principle. I do right because it’s right! I don’t satisfy the cravings of the flesh because it violates the Scriptural principles, which are for my good - even beyond heaven and hell issues. Even if you take heaven and hell out of the equation, the Biblical principles for morality of loving your neighbor will provide you a better, safer, longer life! You just do right because it’s right! It’s a matter of principle! When there are poor starving people around, you don’t pour out $20,000 (a low approximation in today’s equivalence) in one application of perfume!
This is where the disciples were!
But Mary understood that you’ve got to get deeper than the principles! The nature of the principles are to lead you and direct you to the nature of the Person, God Himself! There’s so much more to the Christian life than just trying to “live right!” You live to love God! You live to please Him as a living sacrifice! You live for Him! His principles are given to show you what He values!
The one thing that has revolutionized my devotional life the most was when I started looking at any given passage of Scripture to discern not merely what it states – what I should “do”– but what it implies – what it reveals about the nature of God Himself! It’s good to live by principle! I believe there is saving faith in willingness to live by principle!
But there’s a sweet-spot in the Christian life, just like there’s a sweet-spot on a tennis racquet or a baseball bat. You can hit the ball with any part of the bat or the racquet and it will count! But if that ball connects with that sweet spot, the control and the power of your swing will be exponentially better!
The disciples had found the bat –the principles! But Mary had found the sweet-spot of the Person in a deeper sense than the rest…