Everyone wants their fifteen minutes of fame. It’s that deed that stops the world and focuses the attention on a hero or a selfless individual who gave to another in extreme times of need. The world pays homage to those people, and the attention appears deserved in most cases.
However, one act will live past those fifteen minutes and pop up forever when reading the Bible. In Mark 14:3-9, we learn of Mary’s act of worship. Jesus accepts the invitation to dine at the home of a man whom he healed of leprosy. While reclining at the table, Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, takes an expensive alabaster vial and breaks it over the head of Jesus.
There’s no introduction to this story. We do not know what Mary said or did before this incident, but it didn’t matter. What made an impression on Jesus was the motive behind the gift.
To some, pouring the vial over Jesus’ head was a waste of money. Based on the perfume’s cost and the precious marble that formed the jar, both would garner two years’ wages at that time.
But the money didn’t bother Mary. She used the expensive gift to honor her Savior. To her, Jesus was the prized treasure, not the ointment or the vessel. She loved him so much that her act of worship was priceless.
When ridiculed by others for her waste, Jesus says, in verse 6, “Leave her alone; why do you bother her. She has done a good deed to me.” What a remarkable statement. “She has done a good deed to me.”
I can imagine what that perfume felt like to Jesus. After days of people begging for healing, following his every move, and scrutinizing his every action, Mary’s act of love must have come as a welcomed change of pace. Finally, someone did something for him with no expectations in return.
I hope I am not remiss in assuming this, but I believe that Mary’s act touched Jesus; in return, he honored her with the mention of it in the Bible. In verse 9, Jesus says, “Wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” (emphasis mine)
What an honor.
When I read that passage, I think of my relationship with Jesus. I spend most of my time in the “give me” phase of prayer and spend little time thanking him for what he has done or dwelling on his character.
Likewise, I consider how I haven’t sacrificed for Jesus. When presented with a dilemma, do I choose him or me? When there is nothing to gain, do I sit and dwell on him or watch a movie on Netflix?
The Westminster Short Catechism teaches that the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever. Mary is our example of that principle.
So, what is your sacrifice of worship?
Let’s challenge ourselves to take one day a week (other than Sunday) to praise Jesus in prayer. Make no requests, and focus solely on his attributes. It’s okay; God will sustain the world and your concerns for 24 hours. You need not worry. He will draw closer to you because of your willingness to forego your requests to show him the attention he deserves.