6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. 8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
When I was a little girl, my dad went on a trip and brought me back the most delightful little green notebook. It had my name embossed on the cover and it was just the right size for writing down my important 7-year-old thoughts. I truly believed it to be one of the most special presents I had. So it had to be used for an important purpose.
And yet, that little notebook never got used.
I was so attached to the idea of making it a special book full of the best things I could write, that I never used it for anything. I kept it in my desk drawer for many years. Every time I opened the drawer, I felt disappointed in myself when I saw its smooth green cover.
Focusing on what is our best can sometimes be overwhelming. My 7-year-old self wanted to not just write—but to be THE BEST writer I could be. So I failed to use that beautiful little gift. And it became a source of great pain for me. If only I had just poured myself into writing in the notebook, I might now have a great record of my young thoughts. Rather than stressing about it, I wish I had put my best effort into using the gift.
What if we became like the woman in Matthew 26:6-13 who took the best thing she had and definitively put it to use without a second thought? She put her expensive perfume to use on Jesus rather than using the money for something like helping the poor. Her actions disappointed the disciples. But the actions delighted Jesus. Oh to be like this woman would be an amazing opportunity.
The disciples see a woman who is wasteful in their eyes. According to them, she’s pouring this expensive perfume on Jesus without a thought to its monetary value. They have chosen to focus on the value of the items rather than the value of the “beautiful thing” as Jesus puts it.
Jesus’ response to their outcry that the perfume could be put to better use is a rebuke for all of us to remember. Things of high value may have purpose in the world for certain. Yes, the woman could have sold the perfume and used the money for charity or whatnot. But the purpose for which she uses the perfume is of higher value. She has shown the value she places on Jesus. He is the priority of her focus.
Can you imagine if we all brought our best to Jesus first? What would the world look like if we always had such a focus in our lives? How we worship, how we interact with others, those would all be intensely better. We would draw closer to him in our actions and in our hearts.
When we bring our best to worship, it doesn’t mean our fanciest clothes or perfect haircuts. It means we have given God the best we have to offer FIRST. He doesn’t deserve for us to merely offer our leftovers to Him. He deserves to be THE priority of our heart. And if we come to Him willing to spill out the best that we have—that is true honor, reverence and worship.
This weekend at worship services, I have the honor of giving the message, where I will talk about giving our best to God. For 11 years I’ve been very involved in our Vacation Bible School ministry and I’ll be sharing the lessons I’ve learned through VBS to inform how we can bring our best to God on a weekly basis.
So come join us on Saturday or Sunday. Don’t worry about your fanciest and your best. Merely bring your heart and a priority to worship God. For that is the best He is looking for.
See you in church!