The disciples, led by Judas the thief, grumbled. It could've been sold for 300 denarii, they accused, and given to the poor.
In today's money, that's at least $15,000.
She could've bought a lot of meals for hungry people with that money. She could've paid for medical care for quite a few sick people. She could have rented shelter for numerous homeless people.
Instead, she lavished it all on her Lord. Her act seemed wasteful to many people, but not to Jesus.
He commended her. "People will talk about this story everywhere the gospel is shared," He told His grumbling disciples, and He was right. For more than 2,000 years, we've retold the story of the woman (Mary) and the perfume.
She left a sweet-smelling legacy that will not be forgotten.
The idea of legacy has been on my mind a lot recently. When I was in Jordan, I collected stories of such legacy that I'm still in awe of the lives those doctors and their families at the Ajloun Baptist Hospital lived.
The story is told that, during a period of intense wartime, the gatekeeper went to one of the doctors. "I need something to protect you and your family if people break in. Give me a weapon," he requested.
The doctor paused and told the gatekeeper to wait. He walked to the back of the house and came back with a box. "This is the weapon I've always used to protect my family. It's never failed us. I'm giving it to you," the doctor said as he handed over the box.
At home that evening, the gatekeeper opened the box. The family Bible, not the gun he expected, was nestled inside.
He pulled out the Bible and began a new tradition of reading it to his family that night. It became the weapon that protected his family, too.
That Bible has been handed down from generation to generation ever since. I was able to speak with the gatekeeper's descendant. He still has the Bible as a treasured possession.
The story of that doctor's faith and generosity is still being handed down, decades later. It's a legacy that has not been forgotten.
I wonder if I have an act of faith so extravagant, so powerful that people will be telling of it for decades, centuries to come. Truthfully, I know the answer. There's not. But there could be...
When I read stories of faith like that of the woman with the vial of perfume, I, too, want to worship with lavish abandon, to give with such generosity that people are stunned, to do something so bold and beautiful for Jesus that people remember the love forever. Don't you?
It's not too late to leave a legacy of love behind.
Today, let's be quiet, revel in the Scriptures, long enough to seek God's face and hear from Him. Let's worship with abandon and look for ways to love and give with extravagance. Let's seek ways to leave a legacy of love and worship behind, a legacy that won't be forgotten.
"Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall also be spoken of in memory of her." Matthew 26:13
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