A woman comes with the most expensive perfume you can buy. A perfume that’s wealth could have been put to use helping those Jesus came to help. Some of the people around Jesus said this gift was too extravagant it shouldn’t have been wasted we should have used it wisely. We should have taken the money and helped those we are supposed to be helping. Jesus stopped the scolding and said she did a beautiful work. She has done what she could.
What would I have done? Would I have been with the crowd or with Jesus? When I was younger I would have been with the crowd. I was all into justice and would have seen this as an extravagant waste of resources. Back then I wouldn’t have been able to say thank you and received a gift.
Now after being in the ministry for a while, I’m learning to appreciate the gifts as they come. The beauty of a work isn’t always the same for every person. There was a little girl during my first years of ministry whose family was different from the rest of those who attended church. They lived in a trailer park and there were many different men in the mother’s life. This little girl came up to me after church during the Christmas season and said she had this bear she thought would look perfect with the decorations. Could she bring it and put it on the table. I told her that would be great. So she brought me this bear. I was a little taken aback because I was expecting a fuzzy stuffed animal and instead she gave me this figurine of bear dressed like Marie Antoinette all in pink. Not our typical Christmas color, but I helped her place the bear in the perfect spot and she was so happy. She kept saying isn’t it pretty? This wasn’t what I expected or what I would have chosen, but it was precious and beautiful to her. There was nothing about this gift that said church to me, but for that little girl she was making the space beautiful by giving her most precious gift. A gift that when I tried to give it back to here after the season she said it’s for you. She had given her piece of beauty. A gift that has taught me to treasure the simplest joy. A gift that taught me to experience the beauty of a work given to God no matter the form or substance. A gift given by the youngest among us was the most precious.
God open us up to see the beauty of the gift given from the heart. Help us to give thanks and remember each of these blessings. Amen.