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Ordinary People Extraordinary Generosity
Mark 14:3, 8-9
3 While he 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...
8 "She did what she could. She poured perfume on My body beforehand to prepare for My burial.
9 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."
Do you believe you are insignificant? Do you look at yourself sometimes and wonder how you could ever amount to anything worthwhile? Many of us share these doubts and misgivings. We know ourselves along with our weaknesses. We feel aimless, sometimes we even feel useless. The Gospel of Mark tells of one encounter that provides an unexpected encouragement to us.
In Mark 14, days before Jesus is crucified, he is having dinner in the house of a man named Simon. At some point in the meal, an unnamed woman enters, breaks an expensive bottle of perfume and pours the contents on Jesus’ head. In our culture, that would be an especially bizarre occurrence, not to mention you might reek of perfume for days. But, Jesus sees it for the generous act that it was. Perfume was a costly commodity, worth almost a year’s worth of wages, and Jesus tells them that this unnamed woman has done a good deed and has anointed His body for His burial to come. Moreover, He says that this woman’s act of generosity and faith will be remembered wherever the Gospel is preached.
Isn’t it remarkable that this ordinary and unnamed woman performed one of the most famous acts of generosity in all of history? We are not told that this woman was a famous philanthropist or even an especially upright person. We are not told whether she had been doing her daily devotions faithfully throughout her life or that she was far from perfect. What we are given to remember and learn from is that this woman, though ordinary, was capable of performing extraordinary generosity to our Lord.
Few people might have a year’s worth of wages to give away; but, every person is capable of this kind of generosity. Jesus does not look at your generosity and add up in his head to decide if it is commendable or not. Rather, if your generosity springs from a heart grateful for the salvation Jesus accomplished, then your generosity can be extraordinary as well.
Today’s Generosity Challenge:
You need a vision, a generosity vision for your life. Here is how you get one. Take the time to get away alone, today. No TV, radio, MP3, or conversation. Along with your Bible, sit down and ask the Lord for a vision of what He wants you to do with your life that will make a BIG difference in someone else’s life. Something beyond you, something GOD-sized, something a little scary. Once you have it, I want you to tell the world here. Shout it out! If you do, we’ll send you an action plan on how to begin to put your idea into action.
About Michael Stickler
Mike is an author, radio host, and a highly sought after motivational speaker. His best-selling book, A Journey to Generosity, is widely acclaimed throughout the Christian community. He is the publisher of Generous Living Magazine and writes for the Christian Post, 'A Generous Life' column.