She Did What She Could

I’m meditating this morning on the story in Mark 14:3-9 in which a woman ignores all the social conventions of the day and anoints Jesus’ feet with expensive perfume. Several things in this story touch my heart today.

First, the woman is not named. She is simply someone who loved Jesus, and valued Him above anyone’s opinion, or above the reality of her own material needs. Nothing was more important to her than loving and honoring Jesus, regardless of the cost or any negative implications concerning her. I find that I’m considerably less ardent in the expressions of my love for Him, and way too concerned about things that really don’t matter, like the imagined opinions of people I may not even know.

Second, this was a costly act. The perfume poured out was worth a year’s wages, a lot of money especially for a minimum-wage laborer. That sort of emotionally motivated expression of love is offensive to the mind, because it explodes the concept of common sense. Our minds recoil and our hearts shudder when someone is so effusive in expressing love to such a degree that our own lack of love is exposed. We struggle to find reasons to argue with the over-done outpouring, such as “she should have given it to the poor.” These arguments likely are nothing more than a cover-up for hearts that are too small.

The third thing is that Jesus is probably the only one in the room who knows this woman, and is in touch with what motivates her. To Him, she’s not just a profligate street walker with no sense of appropriate boundaries. To Jesus, this woman is someone motivated by the Spirit of God to anoint Him in preparation for His death and burial. Jesus’ declaration of blessing over her assures that, even nameless, she will be remembered forever.

I want a bigger heart. The one I have now is too small to pour out love like that, without concern for the consequences. If the most important commandment is to love Him with everything I am and have, then my prayer must be this: “Oh, Holy Spirit, carve out more space in my heart! Open my eyes wider to the beauty of this Man, and let the fragrance of my love fill the room. If that means I look foolish, so be it, for You alone are worthy of such a pouring out.”

Gary Wiens

Gary Wiens, 2/5/2017 1