Giving Our Best to the LordDaily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.
In the days before his passion, Jesus took a break from teaching in the Temple of Jerusalem in order to spend some time with his followers and friends in Bethany, which was a little more than a mile from Jerusalem. As he was eating, a strange and unexpected thing happened to Jesus: “[A] woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard. She broke open the jar and poured the perfume over his head.” (In the version of this story in John 12:1-8, this woman is identified as Mary, the sister of Martha. Mark leaves her anonymous.)
The perfume used to anoint Jesus was made from “essence of nard.” “Nard” transliterates the Greek word nardos, which referred to a plant from far away Asia. Perfume made from this plant was rare and costly, worth what a laborer would make in an entire year, something like $20,000 in today’s terms. The perfume was stored in an alabaster jar (Greek, alabastron, a translucent mineral) so it would be preserved. It was surely a family heirloom, something to be saved and prized, not used.
Some who observed the anointing of Jesus by the woman objected that this was a huge waste of money. Had the jar been sold, it would have brought in a large sum to care for the poor (14:4-5). But Jesus defended the woman’s actions. Her sacrifice for him was costly indeed, and absolutely appropriate. Not only was she expressing her deep love for Jesus, but also she was preparing him for his burial, unbeknownst to her, no doubt (14:6-9).
As I reflect upon the fact that this woman gave her very best to Jesus, I wonder if I do the same. Do I offer to the Lord my best talents, my best time, and my deepest devotion? Does my love for Jesus cost me anything? Am I willing to give up my comfort? My security? My possessions? My selfish dreams? I would like to live each day in imitation of the woman in Mark 14, offering to Jesus my very best, not just in my morning devotions, but in all that I do all day.
QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: When have you given Jesus something costly? How did it feel to do this? How might you offer him your best today?
PRAYER: O Lord, the example of this woman challenges me to consider my gifts to you. Do I give you my very best? Or do you get the leftover of my time and talent?
You deserve all that I have and all that I am. May I give you the best of my thoughts, my dreams, my time, my talents, my possessions, my love. By your Spirit, help me to live each day as an offering to you.
In your name I pray, Amen.
Helping Employees Fulfill Their Dreams
The TV show Undercover Boss gives employers a unique opportunity to spend a few days in their employees' shoes. CEOs and Presidents of large and successful companies go undercover and do the work of people who work on the front line every day. Through this experience, the employer often gets the chance to hear the dreams of their employees firsthand. Hearing the hopes and dreams those employees have for their families, their futures, and themselves often becomes the catalyst for the employer to help make those dreams come true.
Not every employer gets a chance to spend a day in an employee's shoes, but each employer/employee relationship is worthy of faithful and compassionate stewardship. Every interaction is an opportunity to lead from the soul. In this series, Helping Employees Fulfill Their Dreams, we'll explore what it means to lead from the soul in our relationships with our employees, even if we never make it on a television reality show.
Featured image above by Helgi Halldórsson. Used with Permission. Via Flickr.