How do you view the resources you have at your disposal? Are they there for your benefit only or the benefit of those around you? Today we’re dropping our personal intentions for things we own and using those very things as generous gifts for someone else.
Green: Think of an everyday item that’s in good condition. Find a recipient and give it away. Umbrellas, handcream, etc.
Amber: How do you get around? Can you give a friend a lift too?
Red: Just like Mary with her alabaster jar, what can you give away that you can’t undo? Maybe it’s a bottle of perfume, or a favourite jumper. Bless someone else with something that means something to you.
“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And they rebuked her harshly. ‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.’” (Mark 14:3–6 NIV)
Not long after I passed my driving test, I got Lisa: an 11-year-old Nissan Micra. Like most 18-year-olds, I had been dreaming of this day since I first laid eyes on my provisional licence. Most people wouldn’t ask for a car like Lisa. (I didn’t; I wanted a Fiat 500 to drive around and look cute in.) But, when it was time to say goodbye, I was shocked at the number of people who were sad to see her go!
As it turned out, I didn’t end up spending that much time driving around in my car, doing whatever I wanted. Instead, every Friday Lisa and I would drive young people home from whatever food spot we had ended up in after youth. Every winter, Lisa would carry a group of us to a youth leader’s weekend away somewhere. And more often than not, Lisa would be there to transport my mentees and me to a coffee shop somewhere so that I could talk, pray with or encourage someone through a difficult season.
Lisa ended up serving a way bigger purpose than just my convenience (and vanity); she was a real blessing to the people around me.
Did Mary have to break the jar to pour such an expensive perfume out? Surely she could have just opened it and poured out a little bit. Mary could have kept some perfume for her herself, but instead she used it all as a generous gift for Jesus. She had no idea that this simple change in perspective was going to be remembered ‘wherever the gospel is preached’ (Mark 14:9).
How often do we see what’s precious to us as a generous gift to someone else? I had no idea my little Nissan would be cherished by so many. I’m sure you have an incredibly generous gift sitting right under your nose. Maybe you haven’t seen it that way because it serves you so well. Who knows how many people you could bless by choosing to share that very thing?