For the past few months I have been in denominational and faculty meetings dealing with race, poverty, homelessness and immigration. I thoroughly believe that the church and the seminary should be involved in these issues. As important as these subjects are, I found myself fatigued by them.
Then one morning I read the story of the woman who anointed Jesus with the very expensive perfume. His companions protested that the perfume could have been sold to help many poor people. It seems that the entourage of Jesus Christ had a concern for the poor.
Yet the reaction of Jesus seems to be one of annoyance. "Leave her alone, said Jesus. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. ..I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." (Mark 14:4-9)
Sometimes listening to my ministerial colleagues talk about the Valentine's Day celebration, I hear sighs. It is an economical boon for the Hallmark company, for the chocolate factories and for the florists. In a couple of days the chocolate will be eaten, the roses wilted and the cards tossed away. What a waste! If only the money that was spent on this holiday could be collected for the poor.
However, when you talk with the recipients of the chocolates, or the well-chosen cards or the beautiful flowers, they believe that the giver has done a beautiful thing. By purchasing a small or a large gift, there was a demonstration of love and a thing of beauty.
In no way, do I want to equal what the woman has done for Jesus to what we do in our days. Yet, I want to point out the fact that Jesus remarked that what the woman has done for him was a beautiful thing. In the midst of poverty, homelessness, and immigration struggles, we should seek to do for one another something beautiful, something that demonstrates our utmost giving.
The fact that Jesus was touched by what the woman has done is emphasized by Jesus saying that wherever the glorious gospel will be preached, what this woman has done for Him will always be proclaimed in her memory.
I pray that you will do something beautiful for someone that they will remember as long as they live and when they have gone from this earth, it will become a part of the family stories that will be passed from generation to generation. I pray that you will do something beautiful for God that will be remembered in the local church during your lifetime and for many generations to come.