Good waste

garbage-413757_640Mark 14:4: There were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment wasted like that?

If it is for Jesus, then it is not a waste. The woman in question here poured out an ointment costing the whole year’s wages on Jesus and even one of his disciples Judas thought it was not worth it, showing the kind of low value he placed on Jesus, though he had been walking with him for long. So it is not length of association time but spiritual perception, that matters. That woman saw something in Jesus what was not obvious to Jesus’s disciples. They suffer from the sin of over-familiarity. Jest before his trial, Philip asked Jesus: “show us the father and that will be enough for us?” But Jesus said, Philip, you have been with me all these while and you do not know me? Do you not know that the he who has seen me has seen the father?” The all suffered from perception problem, that was while Jesus could said something was proper, valuable, and profitable and some will say, it was a waste (Mark 14:1-11, John 12:1-8).

Jesus sought to change their perspectives saying that: “The poor you will always have with you but me you will not always have.” and he declared that wherever the gospel is preached, the woman will be mentioned. She expressed uncommon devotion to Jesus, willing to give her all to Jesus and that is what is expected of us.

Paul said that the way we should respond to the mercy of God that we have received is to offer our bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God which is our reasonable service (Romans 12:1-8). That means we need to make the necessary sacrifice to maintain a state of holiness (2Corinthians 6:14-18). We should be ready to give up whatever we need to give up, whatever rivals the devotion to Christ in our life. It may be relationships or even possession.

A man came to Jesus saying that he was willing to do everything it takes to have eternal life, but when the cost was to give up what he possess he went away a sad man because he could not give up his possession for Jesus (Mark 10:17-27).

Jesus said that to follow him we need to deny ourselves and carry our cross and follow him (Matthew 16:24). We carry our cross not just as a symbol of death to our will but also a public identification with him.

When he carried his own cross, it was not in the hidden place, it was in the public, there was something shameful about it.

Also in the world, there is something that attract mockery to those who believe in Jesus (2Peter 3:3-4). Satan will see to that. Paul thoroughly identified with the cross of Jesus as he said that his suffering is to provide what was lacking in the cross of Jesus (2Timothy 2:9-10, Colossians 1:24).

Not that there was anything really “faulty” with the work of Jesus on the cross (remember that he said it is finished [John ]), but in every generation, to reach a people, in real time, touch them with the grace of God there is need for people to pay the price. Jesus had done his part in that ultimate sacrifice and has been rewarded for it being the king of kings and Lord of lords, we need to make sacrifices to connect people with the reality Jesus’ death and resurrection made the way for. Jesus opened the door, we need to lead people through that door.

Paul paid the price in imprisonment, beatings, and even not marrying to get the gospel across, even disagreeing with Peter along the way, no minding he was a foremost apostle, who was an apostle before him (Galatian 2:11-14). His commitment to the gospel, trumps every other consideration and that cost him so much, and eventually his life.

Jesus paid the price to purchase spiritual life for us, but the ministers of the gospel needs to pay the price of reaching out. That is sacrificial, and that is what the cross stands for, that is what carrying your cross to follow Jesus is about. It is not a tea party. It is sticking your neck out in order to reach others.

Such sacrifice means nothing to the unbelieving world, which runs on being self-serving, filled with the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh and pride of life, and is bereft of the love of the father which drives us to pay the sacrifice of love (1John 2:15-17).

The believers are enabled to love God exceptionally because of the operation of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. Paul wrote that the love of God has been shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit given to us.

Jesus made the ultimate sacrifice for us and he expects the same from us. That he died for us, we are supposed to live for him (Galatian 2:20). How are you living for him? Is the concern for your future, for your comfort, for people’s opinion stronger consideration than the interest of Christ and his kingdom? You alone can answer the question.

Regardless of how you answer it, we owe Jesus our very life. When he was pouring his blood on the ground, people wept thinking, “what a waste of a promising life,” but eventually it turned out that it was not a waste, it was a seed, for the harvest of spiritual sons and daughters unto God (John 12:24).

What the woman who poured the expensive ointment on Jesus did was not a waste, but a seed. Nothing done for Jesus is a waste. Paul said that God is not unrighteousness to forget our labour of love in that we ministered and do minister to the saints (Hebrews 6:10). To minister to others is about carrying your cross, it is reaching out to them, neglecting your own need or comfort, and God will not forget.

Jesus said that except a grain of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it abides alone, but when it falls it brings forth much fruit, giving a picture of the true meaning of the “waste” of his life on the cross. It was not a waste it was to reap an harvest.

In the same vein Jesus said that when we give it will be giving to us, good measure pressed down shaken together shall men pour to our bosom. The level of your giving (sacrifice you make) is the level of your receiving, with Paul saying that he who sows sparingly will reap sparingly and he who sows bountifully will reap bountifully (2Corinthians 9:6).

The sowing of the seed of his son for God the father was a bountiful sowing. He went all-in. Paul said: since God gave up his son for us, how much more will he give us all other things (Romans 8:32)?

Jesus said: do not worry little children, it is your father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Since God sowed to reap, how much more us? It was God himself who set up that rule on the earth. He said that “as long as the earth remains, seedtime and harvest will not cease,” it is an unbreakable cycle (Genesis 8:22).

What is “waste” (what you give up) on this part of the cycle is harvest on the other side.  A psalmist says that he who goes forth weeping bearing precious seed shall doubtless come back with rejoicing with the harvest in his hands (Psalm 126:6).

Between seed and harvest is time, therefore we need to wait for the harvest.

The seed of Christ is in you and what you are doing on earth before you go to heaven is to bring in the harvest of that seed. That is why you must not die young so that to the fullest extent you can bring in the harvest, i.e. for you to make the impact you are meant to make, to become the man and women you are meant to be which is to walk the earth bearing the full image of Jesus Christ.

Paul said that is the minster of the apostles prophets, teacher and pastor is about. It is for the Christ to be fully formed in us, for his righteousness to be fully manifest (Ephesians 4:10-16).

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