A beautiful thing

by Rev Jason Phua

Readings: Mark 14:1-21; Proverbs 16:21-23

READ (verse/s chosen for meditation)
Mark 14:6 “But Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

Those who scolded the woman were not wrong to suggest that the flask of nard could fetch a large amount of money and be given to the poor. However, Jesus used the opportunity to teach an important lesson to the disciples who would soon be on their own facing persecutions for the faith. As Jesus suggested, the poor are always there; and those who are able should give to them. Yet, the disciples of Jesus should learn how to follow Jesus first before they pride themselves on doing anything else. Otherwise, even in our acts of service, we could harbour wrong motivations and sin against God. The woman with the flask of pure nard had done a beautiful thing to the Lord; not because she did not care for the poor, but because she had learned to first worship the One who saves.

What is my service for the Lord based on? Is it only based on a sense of morality or compassion? Many people who did not choose to follow Jesus can also have a sense of morality or compassion. This is why we have many non-Christian organisations in the world that are doing great works for the poor, needy and outcasts.

So what makes my service for the poor different? Biblically, my service for the poor must flow first from my love for the Lord. It is only then can I truly learn to love others. Otherwise my love for the poor cannot be sustained if it is just based on a sense of morality or compassion. It cannot grow or even be pure if it is not rooted on the eternal fountain of love which is God.

How then can my love for others flow from my love for the Lord? Like the woman with the pure nard, it is to do a beautiful thing unto the Lord. No, it is not to pour a flask of nard unto Jesus; for physically he is no longer with us. Instead, it is to take time to worship and commune with God on a daily basis for He has given Himself to us. It is to allow God to shape our minds and hearts; so that we can truly be the love of Christ unto others. Such is the essence of Christianity as Jesus said in Mark 12:29-31:

“…The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”

Lord, help us to learn to worship and adore You so that what we do, no matter how noble it sounds to the world, can flow from a sense of humility and reverence for You and from You. Amen.

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