“While he was eating dinner, a woman came up carrying a bottle of very expensive perfume. Opening the bottle, she poured it on his head. Some of the guests became furious among themselves. “That’s criminal! A sheer waste!” Mark 14:3
A sheer waste of money. That was the reaction of the guests at the dinner party. Why waste perfume considered to be worth a year of salary? They didn’t know what Jesus knew: the woman gave him his first anointing of oil for the burial to come.
My first memory of wasted money was when I was in grade school and went to a school my parents took us kids to a school carnival. I became aware at a young age that my parents had little extra money, so it was a big deal to go to the event. They bought a few tickets for each of us kids. I hoarded my tickets, using one for the cakewalk and a couple for tossing games. Then came the announcement, “I hope you had a wonderful evening, but it is time to close the games.” I looked at the tickets in my hand—a sheer waste—as I wasn’t able to use them. Hot tears of disappointment rolled down my cheeks. A bit of anger surfaced when I realized I had wasted my parents’ money.
Jesus reacted to the woman’s generous gift with love and acceptance. A woman helping with the carnival saw my distress and guided me to a couple of booths yet to be torn down. I spent my last tickets and went home with a little prize, instead of feeling like a loser.
Lord, help us become generous givers and receivers of the gifts given to us. Amen.