When Jesus is anointed at Bethany, we witness the danger of a scarcity mindset.
Jesus Anointed at Bethany
Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”
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. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
Then Judas Iscariot, one of the Twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Jesus to them. They were delighted to hear this and promised to give him money. So he watched for an opportunity to hand him over.Mark 14:1-11
What struck me about this reading from Mark 14 is the miserly spirit that proceeded Judas’ greed. A miser is a person who hoards wealth and spends as little money as possible. I took Latin growing up, and I know that words that come from the same root are often related closely. Ever realized how miserable being a miser is? So much so that it may cause you to betray Jesus.
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Have you ever offended someone with the way you handle money? Have you been demonized for your generosity? Or, have you betrayed someone in the hopes of personal gain?
Those who questioned the woman’s actions in Mark 14 did not truly care about what she was doing for Jesus because they were more concerned about the money that she was “wasting”. They mentioned how the money could have been given to the poor, but Jesus tells them to stop because what she did was a beautiful thing.
Although she was anointing the Lord, her audience was blinded by how much the oil cost. And money can blind us so easily because we are only human. Money cannot blind God because He already owns everything! Sometimes we forget that with Jesus our cup is always overflowing. We will never run out. Throughout His ministry, Jesus was in the business of overcoming scarcity – even when circumstances looked grim. Remember how He fed the 5000?
There is something beautiful that happens when we choose to give God our best! Ultimately, everything belongs to Him and we are just stewards of His bounty. In order to receive all that God has for us, we need to cultivate a spirit of willing generosity because God loves a cheerful giver. For when we give from our hearts, we are able to recognize and appreciate the generosity in others.