the shape of leadership

Something Beautiful for Jesus

Dr. George O. Wood presents a Holy Week devotion from the Gospel of Mark.

George O Wood on March 28, 2018

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’” (Mark 14:6-7).

What profound words from the lips of Jesus: “Leave her alone.”

The friends of Jesus had jumped quickly to criticize the woman who poured a vase of expensive perfume on Jesus. They not only grumbled among themselves, but they shamed the woman by rebuking her. Jesus turned and rebuked them instead.

We live in a day of attack journalism. You see it on cable news or in blogs. It is the era of “gotcha.” Make one misstep, one wrong statement — and that defines your whole life. Unfortunately, this worldly style has invaded the church. Social media provides unlimited opportunity for believers to attack other believers.

In fact, there are some specific websites whose sole mission is to “watchdog” against anyone who does not toe their line. These sites are never marked by persons who are fruitful in evangelism or growth in discipleship. Their sole mission is to attack, and often their view is as distorted as the friends of Jesus in the house of Simon the Leper. Rather than see the motive and the heart of love for Jesus, the modern “friends of Jesus” leap to criticize, all the while believing they are doing a good thing.

We need to hear in our own hearts what Jesus says. We too need to do “a beautiful thing” for Him. The woman poured expensive perfume on Him — not just a few drops, but the whole bottle! She was lavish and extravagant in her gift. Do we do the same? Are we lavish with Jesus? How would He describe our love for Him? Do we just give Him a drop or two of our time, talent and treasure, or are our hearts, souls, minds and strength fully vested? All for Jesus!

What beautiful thing can you do today for Jesus?

This woman had a one-time chance to honor Jesus when He was physically present. Her example continues to inspire us to this day. Throughout the history of the church, multiplied millions have followed her example.

What beautiful thing can you do today for Jesus?

Too often, Jesus’ next statement, “the poor you will always have with you,” has been misinterpreted and taken out of context to mean we need do nothing to help the poor. After all, some think, there’s really not much we can do because poverty is a state of being that will always be with us.

That interpretation misses the rest of the sentence, “[Y]ou can help them any time you want.”

We are called upon as believers to care for those in need. In the last day, we will be commended if we have clothed the naked, fed the hungry and sheltered the poor. Jesus blesses the merciful with mercy.

When we minister to the poor, the sick, the captive and the prisoner, we join the company of this woman. For in pouring out our love on them, we are pouring it out on Jesus. “Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me” (Matthew 25:40).

Our acts of love for Jesus are seen not only in our extravagant devotion to Him, but also in our concern and compassion for the poor whom we have with us always.

A Prayer
Lord Jesus, may I never live for self alone. May I be ever more extravagant in my generosity of devotion to You and in my love for others.

This article is adapted with permission from George O. Wood, Fearless: How Jesus Changes Everything (Springfield, MO: Vital Resources, 2015).


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