Friday, April 6, 2012

She has done what she could....

"...Let us pass on to another more scene in the history of this happy, holy family [Mary, Martha, and Lazarus of Bethany]. About four months after the resurrection of Lazarus, a supper was given to our Lord and his disciples (most likely on account of the resurrection of Lazarus, who with his sisters were perhaps relations of the host), by a man named Simon, who had been a leper, and had in all probability been healed by Christ. At this supper Lazarus and Martha and Mary were present......while, according to the custom of the times, Jesus was reclining at table on his couch (not sitting upright as we do on chairs), she stole behind him, and unrestrained by the presence of the guests, brought an alabaster box of spikenard, and with it anointed the feet of Jesus and then wiped his feet with her hair. She gave him her most costly article, and employed for him the most ornamental part of her person. For who that loves Christ will not give him the richest and best of their possessions?

From one of the company, I mean the traitor who sold his master for thirty pieces of silver, this act of pious affection and liberality drew forth a censure, and under a hypocritical profession of concern for the poor, he expressed his regret that the precious ointment had not been sold and given to the fund for charity. Ah, how often has a plea of charity served as a cloak for covetousness! True it is, as a general principle, that great expense in external magnificence, even when designed to honor Christ, would most commonly be better employed in feeding and clothing his members; but there are some extraordinary occasions when some sort of profusion is not to be blamed. And everything which is given to Christ is acceptable to him when, as in this case, it is love that gives it. Happy is the person who knows like Mary to make that an offering and expression of love to the Savior, which in her days of worldliness and folly she has offered at the shrine of vanity.

Jesus becomes her vindicator against the cavils of Judas, and pronounced a eulogy which the loftiest monarch on earth might covet to receive,

"She has done what she could."

 Of how few can this be said—and yet what lower rule of conduct ought any of us to prescribe for himself than this? Is less than what we can do for Christ, enough to do for him? Have you ever weighed in seriousness of mind this noble testimony, "She has done what she could."

What can you do for Christ? What have you done? What ought you to do? What will you do? Be Mary's memorial yours. 

And to what renown did it raise her? "Wherever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she has done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her." How literally has this been fulfilled. Wherever the Bible has gone, in one hundred and fifty languages, this has been published to the world. And all nations will know of Mary's alabaster box of ointment consecrated to Jesus, and will venerate her memory for this act of pious zeal.

The world is a poor judge in matters relating to God; and God takes delight in honoring those actions, done in love to him, which the world ridicules. Happy are those who are content with the approval of him who sees the heart. The contradictions and groundless censures of men pass away like the clouds that occasionally veil the sun; but the good actions which are the subject of their envy or their calumny, will remain forever, splendid as the great luminary itself. Good works embalm the memory with an odor more precious and lasting than the perfume of Mary's spikenard.

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"Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it."
Isaiah 55:6,8-1