“Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be spoken of in memory of her.” Matthew 26:13
When Mary of Bethany poured costly oil on Jesus’ head in a spontaneous act of worship, the disciples were “indignant” and said, “Why this waste? For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and then given to the poor.” (Matthew 26:8-9) Yet there was something in this act that captured the whole-hearted response the value of Jesus calls for, so our text says the gospel itself is to now include the retelling of this event.
Earlier Jesus had compared the kingdom of heaven to a “treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.” (Matthew 13:44) In this act of devotion, Mary modeled this truth before everyone’s eyes. Mary had found treasure in her relationship with Jesus and could not contain her worship. To the others, even those closest to Him, it was as if the treasure was hidden. “Why this waste?” is what they said in the face of such an extravagant offering.
Today our costly oil is our time. Do you ever just “waste” time worshipping Jesus? Beware of a voice in your head that will speak to you whenever you want to spend time alone with the Lord: “Why this waste? You’ve got things to do, needs to meet, responsibilities to fulfill, calls to make, and items to check off of your list. You don’t have time for this.” Yet when we set a higher value on God than on all the things we have to do, we bring pleasure to Jesus, like Mary did.
“What about all the urgent other things?” you ask. Jesus replied, “you always have the poor with you.” (Matthew 26:11) In other words, the needs will still be there after you take time for devotion. The reality is you and I are much more equipped to handle all of the pressures around us after we have “wasted” time with Jesus because His presence, blessing, and wisdom will then flow more freely. Jesus said that the result of us drinking of Him would be “rivers of living water flowing out of our innermost being.” (John 7:37-39)