Thursday, July 7, 2016

Vial of Perfume

“She has done what she could and anointed my body for burial ahead of time.” Mark 14: 8

I have often been touched by the story of a woman so spiritually devoted to Jesus that she sacrificially gave up her cherished treasure. The vial of perfume was worth a year’s wages and she appeared to have wasted it foolishly overnight. She was chided by the leading followers of Jesus. Her devotion and ministry were not understood at all. The money could have been used more efficiently. Maybe they reasoned that she should have been more concerned about social justice issues. But Jesus felt ministered to and comforted before His baptism of sufferings began by her ministry to Him. His followers were oblivious to His personal need of the moment.

Similar conclusions can be made by me as they were by Jesus’ followers. I want to be ambitious for His Kingdom – you know, build it up and advance it. There is so much to do and multitudes of unreached people. The needs are very great. Churches think of how money can best be used in missions. There should be a gauge for ministry being cost efficient in the Kingdom, shouldn’t there? People want to see tangible results; sometimes even demand proof.

I remember the first time I found myself crying for Jesus. There had been plenty of tears for myself and for others before but this was the first time they were for Jesus. I grieved that He was rejected by many of my Muslim friends. I wept because He had suffered so much and His sacrifice was not understood nor appreciated. I truly hurt for Him. I cried, “I’m so sorry, Jesus, You continue to experience this rejection and misunderstanding. Oh, that I could change it for You.” A strange new desire to comfort Jesus arose within me. I cried and cried until I was spent. That was very strange, I thought to myself. What was that all about? Then suddenly I felt like I was on holy ground. A quiet awareness enveloped me that perhaps I had just ministered to Jesus. Was it possible my tears had somehow comforted Him? This was an altogether new type of ministry. I had always thought of ministry directed to others. Through the fogginess of my tears for Jesus I was quite sure I might not be fully understood by too many other people. But it did not matter. I received comfort from Jesus’ words to His followers: “Leave her alone…She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.”

My analogous vial of perfume contains my tears for Jesus. He does not need comforting but I think He appreciates it. Every once in awhile I break open the vial and pour out a few tears at His feet.

Dear heavenly Father, please show me how I can minister blessing and comfort to You. Thank You that You do not berate my devotion to You. In Jesus’ name, Amen.