Thursday, July 14, 2011


Today's passage:  John 12:1-11/Matthew 26:6-13/Mark 14:3-9
     I have never been much of a goal-setter. I know people who have a timeline of exactly what they want to happen in five, ten, fifteen years.  This is not a bad thing, I am not being critical.  I should do more of it myself.  I just know I would get very frustrated when I looked at my goals and found that I was nowhere near to reaching them.  It is my goal to become a published writer someday.  I have taken very small steps towards that goal, but if I had set a timeline on it, I am probably about 10 years past it.  It is frustrating, but I would not change the events that have kept me from that goal.  Having three kids in that timeline is a pretty good excuse for not getting it done, and if God gave me three more and pushed my timeline further down the road, I would be perfectly happy with that (don't tell my husband I said that).  Sometimes our goals are not in God's timeline.  Sometimes our goals are not even in God's plan for our lives.  Maybe I've learned to accept that to the point that I just do not set any goals at all, which is not really a good thing either.        
     When reading only the verses in John, it would seem that this event is taking place at Lazarus' house.  Lazarus is sitting at the table (I always picture him at the head of the table), Martha, as always, is serving, and Mary comes from her bedroom with this stark white box.  This is the picture I have always had in my head.  In the other passages of Scripture, Mary's name is not specifically given, so I always forget that she is the one who has made this great sacrifice.  This is not how it happened at all.  They are not at Lazarus' house, they are in Simon the leper's house.  In the other Scriptures, it does not appear that Simon is present (this would make sense since lepers had to live out of the city).
      I heard an excellent sermon once about the fact that they were in Simon the leper's house.  After Lazarus had died, it might stand to reason that if the man of the house was no longer living, his property would have been sold off and the sisters would have to find someplace new to live.  Since Simon is not mentioned in the passage here, just that it was his house, it would seem logical to think that if Simon was still leprous and living outside the city, if he had no family to inhabit his home, he might have rented his home out to another family.  This would make Mary's act of worship even greater because she might have been able to use this perfume as payment for another property.  Verse 2 says "...but Lazarus was one of them that sat at the table with him."  This wording makes it sound as if Lazarus might be a guest too. If he and both of the sisters are visiting in this home, than something here really struck me.  In the past, I have always envisioned Mary, overcome with devotion,  fetching her box and spilling its precious contents upon Christ.  But if they are a guest in this home, she would have brought this box with her.  That means she was not just overcome, she had planned this.  She had given this careful thought, and had decided that she was going to surrender something to Christ. 
Mary Anoints Jesus' Feet--Taken from The Children's Friend (Part 4)
By Mrs. Adelaide Bee Evans
 Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1911, 1928
Have I considered the things I should surrender to my Lord?  Or do I wait until I just can't stand it anymore and I'm bowled over by emotion before I give up the things I should already have given up?  Goal-setting is a great thing.  Have I ever set any goals as to what I want God to do in my life?  Have I ever told the Lord He can have something before He even asks for it?  There would have been nothing wrong if Mary was living in this house and did suddenly decide to do this for Jesus, it may have happened that way.  But God should not always have to ask us for what is already His.  He should not have to break us down to the point that we are finally willing to surrender.  Remember, just a chapter earlier, Mary had lost a brother and then had him resurrected.  She could have waited for another tragic event to take place before she decided to make this sacrifice.  She could have held back, resisted the Spirit's leading, and held on to her valuable package.  She chose to give it up, but it took some heartache to get there.  Maybe God could spare us some heartache if we would evaluate some things in our life beforehand and put them at His feet before He makes the suggestion.
     Notice that she was not only willing to surrender the box, but everything in it.  I may say to God, "Here I am, Lord" but if I don't yield everything in me, I am only giving Him part, not all.  My God deserves all that I have to give.  He deserves so much more than what I do for Him.  Lord Jesus, help me to examine my life today, and see what You want from me before You have to ask for it.  Let me surrender things before You have to take them.  Let me make plans and set goals on how to serve You better before having to be told.

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