Mark 14:3-9 (NIV)  While Jesus was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard.  She broke the jar and poured the perfume on His head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume?  It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.”  And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus.  “Why are you bothering her?  She has done a beautiful thing to me.  The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want.  But you will not always have me.  She did what she could.  She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.  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.”

Should I or Shouldn’t I?

My patient arrived for therapy in a cab as always.  Our morning session completed, he returned to the lobby to wait for the cab to come back.  Hours later I was surprised to see him still sitting there.  He just shrugged his shoulders when I looked at him inquisitively. I finished my work, gathered my belongings and said goodnight to my supervisor.  As I headed for the door I saw that he was still waiting.  Without really thinking I said, “Come on, I’ll drop you off on my way home.”  A look of relief came over his face.  As we pulled into his driveway he expressed concern about my getting into trouble when I returned to work the next day.  He’d overheard my supervisor caution against my offer – think about the liability, think about safety.

I briefly considered my options.  Should I give him a ride or shouldn’t I?  Reaching our destination, his obvious joy for the ride and our conversation filled me with gratitude. I had acted on impulse rather than on what should or shouldn’t be done.

The woman in today’s Bible verse carried out an extravagant act of complete devotion and love by pouring expensive perfume on the head of Jesus.  Imagine her joy, receiving the support of her Lord when she followed her heart and acted, in spite of what the others thought she should or shouldn’t have done.

Prayer:  Precious Lord, Help me live into the love you demonstrate, a freeing love that fills me with joy and the realization that there are opportunities to act that come only once.  Amen.

Chris Henderson

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