Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Lent: Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus

John 12:1-8
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Have you ever been accused of wasting your resources? There are so many worthy causes to spend our money and talents on, and so many ways to invest them. With perfume that expensive, Mary could have made a significant difference in a poor person's life. She could have invested it for a profitable return, like the servant entrusted with five talents (Mt 25:16), and made an even more significant difference in the lives of others. She could have helped to underwrite Jesus' ministry (Lk 8:1-3) or saved it for a time of real need. She could have spent it on Jesus or other people as it became available rather than "hoarding" it until it became such a significant sum. Sometimes those accusations come at us from people like Judas who want to use your resources for their own selfish profit. Often though they come, directly or indirectly, from people with a genuine mission for people with a genuine need. It's easy to forget that the mission one individual is called to may not be the way God wants someone else to spend his/her resources, and so be disappointed when they don't actively support us as much as we would like. When we're the ones not spending our resources on someone else's project, it can cause feelings of guilt and strain our relationship with that person.
Mary gave an expensive gift to Jesus out of love for Him and He did not reproach her for it. It was a tremendous gift, offered with abundant love and He accepted both the gift and the love she offered. When you bring a gift to the Lord out of love for Him, you can expect His response to be the same. There will always be someone objecting that your gift could be put to better use through their own ministry or pet project. But you're not offering it to a person; you're offering it to the Lord. So take courage from His response to Mary and know that He welcomes each gift you bring of time, talent, or money, however you offer it to Him, whether to visibly honor Him, to help one of His children, or to strengthen your relationship with Him. What gift are you bringing to Him today and how will you be presenting it?

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