I’ve wasted a lot of money in my lifetime.
This may surprise you, because I’m naturally very frugal. Anyone who knows me knows I hate wasting time, and I hate wasting money. Time and money are too precious to be misspent.
This is why I’ve lived frugally all my life. I set my thermostat too low in the wintertime and too high in the summertime. I dry laundry on a clothesline. I hand wash dishes instead of using a dishwasher. I clip coupons, shop sales, and reduce, reuse, and recycle. I do anything I can to save money.
But I also love wasting it.
Mary did, too.
Martha and Lazarus’ sister, Mary had a bottle of fragrant oil worth an entire year’s salary. In today’s terms, it was worth forty thousand, sixty thousand, or maybe one hundred thousand dollars. She’d probably saved for years to purchase this outrageously expensive perfume.
And now she was preparing to waste it. Fritter it away. Blow it.
“And being in Bethany at the house of Simon the leper, as (Jesus) sat at the table, a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on his head” (Mark 14:3).
Her friends tried to talk her out of it. They “criticized her sharply,” and lamented among themselves, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted?” She could have sold it for lots of money and given the money to the poor.
Instead of doing something practical and responsible with her treasure, she wasted it. WASTED it by lavishing it on Jesus.
My husband and I have been married for over 30 years. Over the course of three decades, we’ve similarly wasted more money than we can count. This is shameful, really, since for most of our married life my husband has been a blue-collar worker, and I’ve been a stay-at-home mom with a part-time job. Of all people, we shouldn’t be wasting money. It’s too dear and hard to come by.
If we’d kept our hard-earned money instead of wasting it, we might not have driven the older van that embarrassed our children so badly. Or lived in the house that was smaller than all their friends’ homes. Or gone to Disney World more than once. We might have had nicer clothes, newer electronics, and a country club membership.
Instead we wasted our money by giving to our local church, supporting missionaries, and sending poor kids to camp. We’ve helped rebuild a church in Mexico, feed the hungry in Nicaragua, and bring Christian education to Spain. We’ve helped dig wells in Afghanistan, buy mosquito netting in Kenya, and care for the homeless elderly in Romania.
Like Mary, we realized early on that there’s something much more precious than money, and that something is Jesus. And Jesus’ kingdom, Jesus’ work, and Jesus’ church.
I’m not sharing this to brag, except to brag on Jesus.
One Easter long ago, Jesus gave the most precious gift imaginable—his physical life in exchange for our spiritual life. His mortality for our eternity.
What is money in light of so great a sacrifice?
As his children, we have the privilege of giving back, in very small yet sacrificial ways, to the One who gave his all for us.
“Let her alone,” Jesus said. “Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me . . . . wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her” (v. 6, 9).
If you haven’t experienced it already, I pray you discover the joy of wasting money for Jesus.
What about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Leave a comment below and join the conversation.
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