“As [Jesus] sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. And she broke the flask and poured it on his head. But there were some who were indignant… and said ‘why was this fragrant oil wasted?’…and they criticized her sharply.”
The world has not changed. Every time you pour something costly and precious on Jesus, the immediate reaction is, “To what purpose is this waste?” What the master gladly accepts as a sacrifice, the world calls a waste. As far as the people were concerned, the costly oil was misused. If she wanted to give it all away, why didn’t she use the proceeds from its sale to bless some poor people? In other words, there could have been a better use of the precious oil than “wasting” it on Jesus.
There is always an alternative use for whatever you want to pour on Jesus. If somebody with a degree in electrical engineering resigned a lucrative job and packed up to go and settle among the Wolof people of Senegal, the world would ask, “Can you imagine such a brilliant fellow with prospects, wasting his life and calling himself a missionary? What kind of waste is this?” If, however, he becomes an Information Technology guru, walking the financial capitals of the world and flying from New York to Singapore, from Tokyo to Brisbane, it would not be considered a waste.
Many Christians are afraid to pursue God’s high purpose for their lives because of the comments and expectations of others whose opinions belong in the trash can and who have no idea what the Lord has ordained for such a life. The truth is, everybody will be wasted somewhere. It is your choice to determine where and on what. But as for whether or not you will be wasted, it is an inescapable reality. Every life is being spent on something.
Some people are wasted on the pursuit of power, popularity and pleasure. Others are wasted on the mad-rush for money and other mundane matters of life. If your life is not wasted on Jesus, it certainly will be wasted on something less. You can only be emptied on something less than the master because there is nothing greater than him. Some people are waiting until they have been wasted by the system. At that time they will limp to the altar at age 70 singing “I surrender all.” When the best of your youthful resources have been spent pursuing your own personal agenda, what else is remaining to surrender?
If your life is not wasted on Jesus, it certainly will be wasted on something less.
The father of a Palestinian suicide bomber was recently interviewed. He said he felt extremely proud of his son for volunteering for such a mission. He was sure his son was in paradise. They seem to believe a lie more than we believe the truth. Some Igbo traders who cross every border and defy every imaginable obstacle to do business get killed in remote or distant lands when a political or religious crisis breaks out. What you think is a big price to pay for the gospel, others are willing to pay for the sake of their businesses. Every life is being wasted. The question is on what.
Mary Slessor was engaged to be married to a banker before she came to Nigeria as a missionary. After attending a mission conference, God called her to the “white man’s grave.” Her fiancé asked her to choose between himself and her mission call to Africa. She did not even have to pray about it. She broke the relationship, obeyed the call and spent the rest of her life in Nigeria. The woman in Mark 14 broke the neck of her flask and poured her costly oil on the master. There are some things you have to break if you empty the content of your life on Jesus.
The question we must always ask ourselves is, “When time gives way to eternity, what will we be remembered for?” The woman in Mark 14 had a memorial recorded for her because she emptied her best on the master. When the story of the harvest is told, what will be recorded of our lives? We can only pray these words of one famous song writer:
“When it’s all been said and done, there is just one thing that matters:
Did I do my best to live for truth, did I live my life for You?
When it’s all been said and done, all my treasures will mean nothing
Only what I’ve done for love’s reward will stand the test of time.”