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A woman in that town that lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. Luke 7:37-38, NIV
There are two similar stories of a woman anointing Jesus with perfume. Although the gospels were not written as a biography, therefore not always in chronological order, we know there were two separate incidents because they happened at different places. Luke is the only one who records this specific incident.
We know from the other story that an alabaster jar of perfume was worth over a year’s wages. This woman had either gotten wealthy from her sinful lifestyle, or else it had been an expensive gift from a rich admirer. In any case, it represented the very best she had to offer. It was her treasure.
She did not come to Jesus with this gift as a bribe to gain His acceptance or forgiveness. Genuinely broken in heart - poor in spirit - at the pain her sinful lifestyle had caused God, she humbly came. She wanted to change, and she was willing to give everything to Jesus. There was no holding back. She knew only the best will do.
When we come to Jesus, we need to realize that we are coming before the King of kings, the Creator and Ruler of the universe. Our sinful lifestyle - no matter how it has been expressed in practice - has brought Him incredible pain and been offensive in His sight. He does not accept half-hearted repentance. He does not accept people who want a religious ‘experience’ to give them comfort and then go on doing their own thing. This is to be total commitment, unconditional surrender, no compromise, no holding back. This woman knew that. She laid her heart and her most priceless treasure - symbolizing all she had - had at His feet. This was not an emotional experience and then a return to normal.
When we talk about giving our best to Jesus, we often think about of money and tithing. Money is certainly important. If God doesn’t have our wallet, He does really have us? However, the same is true in
How does ‘only the best will do’ measure up when we consider our most precious, non-replaceable possession: time. Do we give our best time to God? Or does He only get the leftovers after we have done all the ‘important’ things? Every person’s ‘best’ time might be different. Some people are morning people, some are night people, and we have to juggle work, family and other things. But this is a challenging question all of us - including myself - must face. Are we giving our best time to God? Are we even giving Him any time on a regular basis? How you answer is between you and God. Time can be an alabaster jar of perfume. Do you break it on His feet or pour it on yourself?
What about praise? Jesus is worthy of all praise and worship. Since only our best will do, are we giving Him our best praise? Often we think about this in the context of a Sunday service, but praise is to be continual. Sometimes, if we are going to be honest, we give our best praise to our favourite sports team or movie star. How does your praise of Jesus compare with your praise of other things or people you admire? Is Jesus getting your highest and best praise?
There is one other aspect of ‘only the best will do’ that I wanted to mention. Work. I don’t mean our religious work life where we teach Sunday School, work around the church, or minister in the community. I mean our work life: running a cash register, pumping gas, serving clients, or whatever you and I do to make a living. The Bible often teaches that we are to work for our human employers as working for the Lord. Let’s face it, that can be hard! Our human employers very often are not Christ-like and can even deliberately make things difficult. Still, in giving our best to Jesus, are we giving our best to our employers? Do we arrive on time? Do we take long breaks? Do we try to do our best work or only enough to stay out of trouble? Are we cheerful or pouty?
Christianity is very practical, which is why many people try to hide behind a religious front. It didn’t work for the Pharisees, and it won’t work for us. I know we become discouraged, have low energy at times, and lose focus, but let us bring our alabaster jar of perfume to Jesus.