Mark 14: 4-9
“Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? 5 It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. 6 “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. 8 She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. 9 Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
The average salary in the UK is £25-27k. So we have some idea of what she was giving to Jesus.
The breaking of her alabaster jar shows us:
- She understands the season of sacrifice. There are moments when you have to help the poor and other good causes. But this woman knew Jesus was only here for a short time, this was the right moment. There are seasons when He demands all, when the alabaster jar must be broken. When obedience is not measured by a tithe or a part offering but it is all or nothing. Alabaster people know those seasons.
- Her giving benefited not just Jesus but the whole room. Everyone enjoyed the fragrant perfume, even if they were against her doing it. The act of giving impacts further than what we can imagine. In a Church service last week a heap food offering was given by the members. Mountains of food were placed around the altar area of the church. During this act of giving a married couple were so impacted by this that they came forward to surrender their hearts, ‘to get right their own giving’.
- Her giving offended others who hadn’t given like this. They were not thinking of the poor. They were not thinking of the largeness of her gift. They were thinking of how small or non-existent theirs was.
My final thought (I think!) on this amazing story is this:
A moment with Jesus. We try and replicate these every week. We gather together and believe Jesus is the centre of all we do. The people who come have all been impacted by Him in some way. We are all disciples and followers of Him. Yet the ones who manage to truly connect with Jesus may not be the obvious. It could be those on the fringe of society, those who have had chequered pasts, those who are overlooked, those who have been forgiven much, those who understand the cross deeply, those who are so moved by his sacrifice they are prepared to break open their future, all that they have, their lives and become broken followers. There are after all 2 types of God-chasers (a term I am trying to dust down and re-introduce!); those who pursue-in-want and those who pursue-in-giving. Alabaster people are the latter, they become broken to give.