Have you ever thought of what God desires from us? Sometimes we get so caught up with what God can do for us, how He can help us, and what He can give us while completely over looking what our purpose is as believers! The reason God created us is so that we would praise and worship the Creator! Think about the most expensive thing you own. Would you be okay with losing it or giving it away in order to help someone with a greater need? How about giving it up just as an act of pure service to God?
We see a clear picture of this in the story of Mary anointing the feet of Jesus.
3 Mary then took a pound of very costly perfume of pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of His disciples, who was intending to betray Him, said, 5 “Why was this perfume not sold for three hundred denarii and given to poor people?” 6 Now he said this, not because he was concerned about the poor, but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box, he used to pilfer what was put into it. 7 Therefore Jesus said, “Let her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of My burial. 8 For you always have the poor with you, but you do not always have Me.”
So after reading this Scripture, the first thing I did was a Google search on what “spikenard” was. What I found out: it’s a rare and precious herb that gives off a sweet smell and can only be collected at the base of the Himalayan Mountains. To process it is very difficult. Much more, to get a pounds-worth like what Mary had is very expensive. The cost of the spikenard mentioned in verse 5 is about 300 denarii which is quite a bit of money in those times. The average laborer during those times made about one denar per day. 300 denarii – that is almost a year’s worth of pay! If we converted it into today’s currency it is equivalent to around $20,000! So what Mary was bringing before the Lord was a very expensive, very rare, bottle of perfume.
So then we can naturally ask the question why Mary would bring something so costly before the Lord. The top reason that stands out to me is repayment for what Christ had done for her. We know from supporting Scripture this was Mary Magdalene and Christ had cast out seven demons from inside her that were tormenting her. So Christ had essentially saved her life!
Now after He had risen early on the first day of the week, He first appeared to Mary Magdalene, from whom He had cast out seven demons.
Not only had Mary been saved but Christ also raised her brother Lazarus from the dead and gave him new life which we read in John 12.
Jesus, therefore, six days before the Passover, came to Bethany where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.
So reading from these verses, we see that Christ had both SAVED the life of Mary AND given NEW life to Lazarus. Understanding this, the least Mary could do was anoint the feet of Jesus with this $20,000 perfume. You really can’t put a cost on the worth of a life though – much less two lives! No matter what Mary brought before the Lord, they would never be even. Christ didn’t look at it in that perspective nor did Mary have that intention when coming before Him. She did it solely out of her love and adoration for her Savior. She did not do it as a repayment nor for any glory for herself, but rather it was done out of complete selflessness and humbleness towards the Person who gave her life meaning.
This is exactly what Christ had done for us! When we were dead in our sins, when we were helpless and hopeless, when we were worthless human beings not worthy of a Savior, Christ looked upon us and saved us from our sins. Through his sacrifice on the cross he took on the suffering and pain that we deserved so that we could be saved from death AND be given new life in him. So for what Christ has done for us, what do we offer in return? Nothing we bring before Him will ever be an equivalent repayment for the sacrifice He made for us. We read from the book of Psalms that praise and worship are the ONLY things we can offer to the Lord.
12 What shall I render to the Lord For all His benefits toward me? 13 I shall lift up the cup of salvation And call upon the name of the Lord. 14 I shall pay my vows to the Lord, Oh may it be in the presence of all His people.
When we live our lives in honor of him through our words, actions, thoughts, and testimonies as a whole, we become just like that costly perfume in His presence. Just as Mary anointed Christ feet with the sweet aroma of that costly perfume, the life we lead in worship towards God is a sweet aroma to Him!
2 Corinthians 2:14-15
14 But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and manifests through us the sweet aroma of the knowledge of Him in every place. 15 For we are a fragrance of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
Worship is not just limited to the thoughts we may share on Sunday morning. It includes how we live our lives as a whole. Worship is living a life that reflects Christ at ALL times – not just sometimes. We have so many opportunities to worship the Lord through the music we listen to, shows we watch, how we use our time, the friends we associate with, and even how we dress and portray ourselves. God looks much deeper than how we compose ourselves on Sunday morning; He looks at the believer’s heart and checks our intent. Let’s strive to live a life of worship and praise before God through every aspect of our being in the days to come!