extravagant giving

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.” ... In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. [Matthew 26:6-9,12 ESV]

This passage is one of Jesus' great teaching on generosity.
He uses a woman's extravagant act to illustrate how we are to give to the Lord.
A few points that I think frame the passage.
  • Firstly, he was gathered with his disciples at the home of a one time outcast leper. 
  • Secondly, they were seated around the dinner table enjoying a meal together. So everyone was surprised when a woman suddenly poured this expensive perfume on the Lord. 
  • Lastly, only one person got it right - only one focused on the Lord.
The contrast between the action of the woman and the reactions of the disciples is so telling.
The woman, who probably owned the expensive perfume, could only think of ministering to the Lord.
All the disciples could think of was using money for 'ministry'.

I think that they missed out because their focus was not on the Lord.
Neither the woman or the men understood the profound significance of this extravagant act.
Perhaps that is always true when we give without ulterior motives?

Maybe love is all about ministering to Jesus without knowing the consequences?

Lord, help me to be an extravagant giver and not be concerned about money.

... this devotion is part of the Red Letters series. Click here to read more.

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