Just days before Jesus’ death, a woman named Mary emptied a bottle of perfumed oil on Jesus’ feet in an outrageous act of devotion. Judas groused about it. This week, a vocalist at church, introducing a song about this event, commented that Judas thought Mary’s act was a waste.
A waste. I keep thinking about that word. About all the believers who have emptied out hours of hard work and harder prayers only to have somebody tear it all down. Was it a waste?
This week, let’s explore how we can anoint Jesus’ feet even today, even in the face of criticism.
Day 1: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His wonderful light.” 1 Peter 2:9
Have you ever read all that the priests in Moses’ time were required to do? It was hard, dirty work! Today, He calls you to be a priest, and it’s still not an easy job. It requires praising wherever you are, serving wherever He puts you, and praying over whomever He puts you with. Begin to anoint Jesus’ feet today, on your knees, with your tears, if necessary, as you praise your wonderful Lord.
Day 2: “’I am giving you the service of priesthood as a gift.’” Numbers 18:7
If serving Him as priest is a gift from His hand, then don’t you think He intends you to find joy in it? Yes, serving Him is a privilege, an honor, a supreme responsibility. But it can also be a hard, thankless job. Can you even measure the hours you’ve expended teaching the Word, add up the dollars you’ve spent feeding the hungry, or count the tissues you’ve consumed wiping little noses? He can; He remembers every second, every penny, each snotty hankie. Take the gift He hands you; then empty it on His feet as you joyfully serve as priest for Him today.
Day 3: “’I myself have selected your fellow Levites…as a gift to you, dedicated to the Lord to do the work…” Numbers 18:6
Okay, so you’ve worked hard at something…led the music at worship, started a ministry, worked at a job you felt was your calling…and now it’s over. No matter why it ended, it’s tempting to look back and ask, was that just a waste? Listen, if you only learn one thing from me, hear me well: Your God will put the people you need in your life at exactly the right time. Look back at that “waste” now; do you see them? Your fellow Levites, your sister-warrior-priests, working alongside you? They were, and still are, a gift. Now anoint the feet of the Giver with your gratitude and your prayers over these, your priestly sisters.
Day 4: “…they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints.” Rev. 5:8
And what about all those “wasted” prayers? You’ve prayed hard over something, someone, and nothing has changed. Were those prayers a waste? No, your earnest petitions are, and for eternity will be, a sweet savor before your Lord. Go ahead and lavish the feet of Jesus with your most intimate prayers. He hears and is blessed by them. Even though His larger purposes are at work, and you may not receive the answer you desire, He will remember your prayers, and He will bless you bountifully in surprising ways.
Day 5: “When the disciples saw it, they were indignant. ‘Why this waste?’ they asked.” Matt. 26:7
Be advised: even well-intentioned people are going to hurt your feelings. In another story, the whole crowd ganged up a woman with a perfume jar. Even so, she received Jesus’ nod of approval. His approval is still all that matters; in fact, criticism from the peanut gallery may very well be a sign that you’re doing the right thing. Consult with trusted believers, if necessary, then go ahead and break that perfume jar for your Lord! Nothing that you do for Jesus with a pure heart is ever a waste. It’s never a waste, and that’s a promise.