Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional thoughtfully penned by leaders in DUMC arising from their daily devotions. The devotional’s title, “Our Best Thought” is taken from the hymn, “Be Thou My Vision” as a reference to God: “Thou my best thought, by day or by night.” Publishes on Sundays.
While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 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.
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
There were five characters in this short story that took place in Bethany. The first character was Simon, the Leper. The story unfolds at his home. The second character was a woman who came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. Jesus was the third character, reclining at the table. The fourth were the group of disciples. And the final characters were the poor being referred to by the disciples.
There were also three different actions seen in the passage. Simon, the Leper hosted the occasion. He would be considered a generous host in gathering the people. The woman who was not identified in this passage did the action of pouring the expensive perfume on Jesus’ head. Jesus, reclining at the table, receiving the pouring of the perfume on his head. With such action, there was not much expression captured on the passage from Jesus except for His appreciation of the beautiful thing done to Him.
There were two responses from these actions. Firstly, the disciples were indignant. Instead of being surprised with the pouring action of the woman, they were surprised at the wastage of the expensive perfume. It seemed that it could be worth a year’s wages.
If I was there at the occasion, what would be my response? Would I exclaim in shock and be indignant too for seemingly wasting the expensive perfume? Would I be able to see the significance of such an action from the view of Jesus?
Jesus showed us the right perspective of what is important and significant. He affirmed the woman for her action and her sacrificial gift. Her expression of love was demonstrated in her willingness to give Him the best and of the highest value. It is so significant that she is being remembered as the one who gave her best for Jesus. Each time this passage was read, it was in memory of her gift to Jesus.
It is easy to see the importance of helping the poor as they are there physically, and you can see their suffering. This is definitely a good cause, and we are encouraged to help the poor and needy. We are Jesus’ hands and feet to be His instrument to bless and help to poor and needy. However, I want to be reminded from this passage to also look from Jesus’ perspective on what is significant and important.
I should not allow what seems to be a good cause to take greater significance over my expression of love for Jesus. As His child, we are encouraged to spend time to worship, adore and grow in our relationship with Him.
Forgive me for placing importance of life, people, and things above You. Help me, Lord, to look at them from Your perspective and not be distracted by seemingly good causes from loving Jesus more.
I thank You that Your ways and Your thoughts are higher. I want to be able to see their importance and significance from Your view and to have the insight of this woman who did such a beautiful thing in such timely manner to bless You. Like this woman, I want to be remembered as one who loved You above all else.
Holy Spirit, help me to live a life of worship, adoration and draw me in closer relationship with Jesus. Align my actions and responses according to Your ways and Your purposes so that my life would bring You glory.
In Jesus’ name, I pray, Amen.
Tan Hong Looi is the Coordinator for Foodbank.
Our Best Thought is a weekly devotional that follows DUMC's Bible Reading Plan. Posts on Sundays.