The story of Mary anointing Jesus' feet the week of his death is famous. She used a very expensive oil to anoint Him. Not only did she pour this oil out on Jesus' feet, she wiped his feet with her tears and her hair. This woman interrupts a meal attended by prominent men, religious men. She inserts herself into the moment, and does what no one has ever seen before.
When I discovered how much that oil was worth, I had to ask myself how I would have responded to this moment of adoration. I so much want to put myself at His feet. I want to declare that there is no way I would have been an observer, no way I would have chastised her.
But $50,000 is a lot of money. That's right. The oil she poured out on the feet of Jesus is estimated to be worth $50,000 by today's standards. That is not just expensive perfume. That is enough cost to leave everyone in the room staring in stunned silence, and even angry at her.
Think of how much food you could buy for the poor.
Think of how many coats you cold buy for the cold arms.
Think how many shoes you could buy for barren feet.
I want to say that I would be more than willing to pour out $50,000 on the feet of Jesus, but something inside of me wonders, as if it knows my weakness and frailty. Would I do so, or would I look for my lesser oil, the one not so costly? Would I rationalize my choice to give him the lesser oil because, "I could do a lot of good with that money."
Jesus is everything to me. He has marked my life in a way I could never have imagined. I try at times, to imagine who I would be had He not intersected me in my shame years ago. He healed the shattered places, and made me whole. He is everything. Yet, I wonder. Would I pour out my most costly oil on his feet? And what is my most costly oil?
Forgiveness can be costly. Humility, courage...these things can feel so costly at times that I would rather not pour them out. I would rather hold them back, find a better place or time to pour them out.
Jesus honored this woman. He said we would talk about her for generations to come. He knew what it meant for her to pour out that oil. He knew the cost of her oil, and He treasured it.
Maybe, if I remember that Jesus knows the cost of my oil, I'll find the courage to pour it out for Him. He knows the tears and pain that I walk to get to forgiveness. He knows the trembling of humility and the obedience in it. He knows I am not a risk taker by nature and that when I choose the road of courage, I am pouring out all of me at his feet.
Maybe one day it will be a $50,000 bottle of oil I pour out for Him, or maybe it will always be the choices I make to follow His way of love that are as precious to Him as a thousand bottles of oil.
What oil can you pour out on Jesus' feet? He knows what it will cost you to do so. He'll honor your sacrifice of worship, and He'll tell your story in the halls of Heaven.
And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.