The Unnamed Woman with Perfume

6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” Matthew 26:6-13

Had I been one of the original disciples, I probably would have made the same argument they did. “She spent how much on that??”

Even though this story is, in fact, told around the world, nobody knows the woman’s name.

This woman saw Jesus for who He was clearer than many of us. The Holy Spirit had revealed to her His significance and impressed upon her the need to pay a lot of money for perfume.

Unfortunately, I’ve heard Jesus’ reply to the disciples as a justification for not helping the poor in other situations. He was merely stating the obvious. The disciples would have Jesus with them for a few more days and then He was gone. They certainly would sacrifice quite a bit for the poor and destitute during their lives, but Jesus was making sure they understood that Jesus had noticed the unnamed woman and her act of kindness.

The Bible is full of stories of unsung heroes, people who are nameless but very much a part of the Bible history.

Countless still are the millions of people who have continually performed generous acts of kindness, never expecting a reward, but being fully noticed by Jesus. In that sense, she was the opposite of the religious leaders out to kill Jesus. They wanted power their names known throughout the region; the woman wanted no fame or fortune for her act of love. Such a vivid contrast.

Inasmuch as yesterday’s post was “don’t be those guys, (religious leaders)” this post is “be like her.” It’s a safe place to be. She knew what she was doing, how much it would cost her, so she just did it.

I know that most of you fall into her servant-mindset.

Keep up the great work of a servant.

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Out of the Way!

3 Then the chief priests and the elders of the people assembled in the palace of the high priest, whose name was Caiaphas, 4 and they schemed to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. 5 “But not during the festival,” they said, “or there may be a riot among the people.” Matthew 26:3-5

The religious leaders were afraid of the people but they had no qualms about putting someone to death. Interesting morality. Twisted but interesting. How did they get to that point and conclusion about Jesus?

I’ll tell you how it happens. They begin believing that they and they alone are God’s gift to mankind. They follow and debate the finer points of the law endlessly and punish those those who question them. They are above the law and should be patted on the back for their obedience and sacrifice. They have no compassion for the needs or rights of others.

The root of their dysfunction is pride. They feign humility and brag about their humility and generosity to others.

We see it today in larger worldwide ministries. Some, not all. When “I”, “me”, or :my ministry” is 1st, 3rd, and 5th words out of their mouths in every sentence, you can bet the staff under them dread every minute of it. Their way or the highway.

And of course it’s not solely large ministries. I recall visiting a church where the pastor was the only one teaching at every event. No one else was permitted to teach. The church’s website featured his book on every page. Control and pride. Sure, it was a snap judgement based on two or three visits, but those were clearly red flags to me. (Just checked, someone must have put a bug in his ear that his book was blocking ministry).

Now, we are all pilgrims at different stages on this journey of life.

Is God working in those ministries? Probably.
Could He work more if they got out of the way? Absolutely.

Let’s bring it home. Could He work through us more if WE got out of the way?

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What’s He Doing Today?

When Jesus had finished saying all these things, he said to his disciples, 2 “As you know, the Passover is two days away—and the Son of Man will be handed over to be crucified.” Matthew 26:1-2

Jesus spoke these prophetic words, and life would get very real over the next few days. Had the disciples understood yet or where they – much like we would – still trying to piece it all together? They got glimpses, I believe, and then when it all started to occur, the big Aha! moment came. Still, they were enjoying the last few days of solitude before the storm came. In other words, the real learning was about to take place for the disciples.

We all have these moments where we learn but never quite understand until we’re in the midst of the flames, so to speak. Sometimes even then, we have to wait until the flames have died down before it dawns on us what happened.

If you’re still on this earth, God is still working in your life whether you want to acknowledge it or not. We often don’t like what He’s doing necessarily, but we all know that He does it for our own good.

What’s he doing in your life today?

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Hands and Heart for This World

31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.” Matthew 25:31-46

Jesus switches from parables to more of a prophetic utterance of things to come. While probably not a “play by play” account of the judgment (i.e., otherwise literal sheep and goats would be judged) but a general idea.

All nations will be gathered, meaning, all people past and present.
The Son of Man – Jesus Himself will be on a throne.
Angels will be gathered.
The sheep and the goats will be judged fairly.
There is an eternal punishment and and eternal life.

While it’s easy to conclude from this passage alone that salvation is through works and philanthropy, “he is teaching that good works must issue forth from a saved soul, and we ought to be zealous to do them” (Ephesians 2:10, Titus 2:13) Christian Courier.  In other words, good works are the result of a life saved, or should be.

Once again, we rejoice in our standing in Christ and are filled with amazement that we entrust us to be his hands, feet, eyes, ears, and heart for this lost and hurting world.

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Servant Faithfulness

14 “Again, it will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his wealth to them. 15 To one he gave five bags of gold, to another two bags, and to another one bag, each according to his ability. Then he went on his journey. 16 The man who had received five bags of gold went at once and put his money to work and gained five bags more. 17 So also, the one with two bags of gold gained two more. 18 But the man who had received one bag went off, dug a hole in the ground and hid his master’s money.

19 “After a long time the master of those servants returned and settled accounts with them. 20 The man who had received five bags of gold brought the other five. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with five bags of gold. See, I have gained five more.’

21 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

22 “The man with two bags of gold also came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘you entrusted me with two bags of gold; see, I have gained two more.’

23 “His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

24 “Then the man who had received one bag of gold came. ‘Master,’ he said, ‘I knew that you are a hard man, harvesting where you have not sown and gathering where you have not scattered seed. 25 So I was afraid and went out and hid your gold in the ground. See, here is what belongs to you.’

26 “His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant! So you knew that I harvest where I have not sown and gather where I have not scattered seed? 27 Well then, you should have put my money on deposit with the bankers, so that when I returned I would have received it back with interest.

28 “‘So take the bag of gold from him and give it to the one who has ten bags. 29 For whoever has will be given more, and they will have an abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them. 30 And throw that worthless servant outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ Matthew 25:14-30

Most of us can relate to one of the three servants, desperately wanting to be the first but probably closer to the second (and hope we don’t lean towards the third). We do just enough to get by and maybe gain a bit for our efforts.

Oh, we’re faithful in what we have but we don’t go overboard.

We shouldn’t read too much into this passage because it could lead to people questioning their salvation, and I’m sure that wasn’t God’s intent when He wrote this.

Instead, the principle idea is to remain faithful with what we have.

Could we do more? Certainly.
Should we do more? Certainly.

But are you faithful with what God has given you? Only you can answer that, though I suspect you are more than you think.

Search your heart.

Ask those tough questions.

Rejoice that God is giving you strength each day to meet that day’s challenges.

And those challenges are many.

But He is faithful.

Continue Reading Servant Faithfulness