There are always people in our life that we find difficult to shop for because they seem to have everything. Some of us might work extra hard to find just the right gift to show our appreciation for them, or we settle for a simple gift card to a restaurant or favourite store because we feel that our resources are no match for the one that will be receiving our gift. However, when we study the gift that Mary of Bethany gave to the Lord, we learn something special on how we should be preparing our gifts for our Lord Jesus Christ.
Mary provided a gift to the Lord that would have taken a lot of time to save. It is not known to us whether she considered the need for the gift during that period of time, but it would be safe to suggest that she was filled with praise and worship of her Lord which led to the act of appreciation. This should be a reminder to us that the Lord appreciates when we use our time for Him. Time is a limited resource that God has given us and yet when we use it for Him in this life, we store treasure in Heaven that will last forever. It reminds me of a quote that Jim Elliott made famous, "He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep, to gain what he cannot lose."
Since it was a year's salary, the perfume was of great price. There is nothing wrong in possessing things of great value like our homes, vehicles, bank accounts, education, family, etc. However, Mary's sacrifice teaches us that the items in our life that are of greatest value, should mean nothing to us compared to our appreciation for the Lord. On the day that she presented her gift to the Lord, everyone judged her for the sacrifice, except the one that received it. The Lord said that, "She has done a good thing". That means that even though the Lord is the creator and possessor of all things, He still appreciates when we give to Him the very best that we can. The Lord is not interested in the 'gift card', He wants us to be the person that puts in the 'extra effort'.
Mary made her gift a top priority. The Lord blessed her for the timing as the gift was in preparation of His burial. Though the Lord appreciated this gift very much, as the one who truly has everything, He returned the gift with even a greater blessing for Mary. It is Mary who has been remembered for this sacrifice wherever the gospel has been preached, a wonderful treasure and crown for her to experience forever in Heaven. This was Mary's last opportunity to present this gift. Just a few days later the Lord would die at Calvary. This is a reminder to us that we should present our gifts to the Lord when we are given opportunity to do so.
What do we give someone that has everything? I think the simple answer is that if we truly appreciate them, we should be giving them the very best of our resources. As Christians, this means devoting our lives to the Lord who loved us and gave Himself for us. In this little story though, we also learn a simple lesson for the receiver of gifts. Some of us make for great givers but not great receivers. We reject every notion of someone wanting to show their appreciation for us that we rob them of the joys of being the giver. May the Lord teach all of us, from His example, not only to be thoughtful givers, but also to be cheerful receivers. The Lord possess everything, and yet that did not stop Him from being so thankful of the gift that to Mary, came with a great price.