Mark 14:3-9 tells a story of a woman who is identified in John 12 as Mary who is the sister of MarthaMary came to where Jesus was staying & on His head poured very expensive perfume that cost more than a year’s wage.  In the eyes of Jesus’ disciples, it was a total waste, but in v. 9, Jesus says, “I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Why did Jesus praise her in such a manner?

I believe the reason is because before Mary came to Him that day, countless numbers of people have come & gone.  They all had a common reason to seek Jesus.  It was to receive from Him what they desperately needed.  There was a paralytic carried by his four friends to find healing.  We can also read about a man named Batimaeus who called out to Jesus, “Son of David, have mercy on me”, so that he may receive his sight.  Jairus, one of the rulers of the synagogue fell before Jesus’ feet to save his daughter, and the list goes on and on.  Multitudes of men & women have come before Christ because He had something that they needed.

But Mary was different.  She was different because she came simply to give to her Lord.

This is the same Mary who sat by Jesus’ feet listening to His life-giving words while her sister Martha was busy making preparation.  Mary knew that in Christ, she had the most precious Gift.  All her needs & problems faded to the background because the Gift of the Savior put everything in its place.  So rather than expecting the Lord to satisfy her needs, she GIVES & she LOVES the Lord in the best way that she can.

On February 3, 1994, at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington D.C., Mother Teresa shared how one evening she picked up a woman who was terribly sick, and took care of her in the best way that she can.  Despite Mother Teresa’s loving care, the sick woman was still in a lot of pain.  She couldn’t even speak, but to Mother Teresa she squeezed out one word in Indian, which was “Thank you.”

When Mother Teresa received that word of gratitude, it prompted her to examine her own conscience.  She asked herself, “What would I say if I were in her place?  I would have tried to draw a little attention to myself.  I would have said, I am hungry, I am cold, I am in pain or something.  But she gave me much more – she gave me her grateful love.”

It’s funny how it is here in Taiwan where Christmas isn’t a holiday nor celebrated that we are beginning to reclaim its true meaning.  It may be because we are not bombarded by constant images of holiday consumerism or possibly our loneliness helps us to realize what we’ve been taking for granted.  All I know is that in the midst of living simply, we have discovered that Jesus Christ has already blessed us beyond measure.  May the season of giving, serving & loving be in all of our lives!