It’s a story about Jesus, a couple days before he is going to be crucified. He and his disciples are hanging out in in the house of a man named Simon the Leper.
Now, I’m betting the disciples are already in kind of a bad mood because Jesus dragged them along to a house where a leper lives. They know leprosy is contagious. They also know its gross. Seeing somebody rotting alive…nobody wants to be around that. But Jesus takes them to dinner at his house.
It’s at this house where a women comes in and pours a container of expensive perfume over Jesus’ head. Whatever Jesus had done for this woman, she decided that in response, she was going to honor and bless Jesus in an extravagant way.
Beautiful, right? This woman probably had a broken life and through interacting with Jesus, she finds hope, healing, joy, acceptance, love. Her response is to say ‘thank you’ in the most beautiful, meaningful way she can think of.
And do you know what the disciples response is to this amazing scene?
They’re indignant, and they ask this question: “Why this waste?” (Matthew 26:8)
Why. This. Waste.
These guys have been following Jesus for years. They’ve seen him do things beyond their wildest imagination. They were picked out of obscurity to be disciples of God’s Messiah, groomed to change the world, yet they have already reached a point where they take Jesus for granted.
Why waste this nice perfume on the guy we hang out with all the time? I mean, come on. It’s just Jesus.
If these guys who are watching Jesus perform miracles on a daily basis can get to a point where he’s just ‘my boss’, what hope do the rest of us have of avoiding this?
I suppose we simply have to be on guard against this. We can’t get to a point where we simply look at time or resources or energy given to God is a waste.
I’m not saying we have to become destitute giving away all our belongings and money to charity. I’m also not saying we need to burn ourselves out by never taking care of our mental, emotional, physical and spiritual needs while we volunteer at church every night of the week, 365 days a year.
But we must never get to a point where we view the things we give to God as a waste. Like we’re throwing good things into a black hole that will never fill up.
Jesus said he came that our lives would be more abundant. Not easier, necessarily; but more meaningful.
Here’s the next part of this story (I love this part):
The woman doesn’t have to defend herself, or answer for her actions…because Jesus stands up for her.
“Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” (v. 10)
Other’s may not appreciate the things we sacrifice to Jesus. They may look at it and call it a waste.
Why are you spending your time helping poor or homeless people? Why are you hanging out at the nursing home? You could be partying every weekend instead? You’re wasting the fun years of your life with that junk.
But Jesus sees it, and values it. He tells his disciples that as a tribute to this woman, the story of what she has done will go everywhere that news of the good news goes.
There’s no such thing as wasting our affections on Jesus. On giving him our most valuable assets. No matter what others think. Even those who are supposed to be the closest to Jesus.