Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 231/260: Mary

Read Mark 14:3-9; John 12:1-8

Doing What You Can

The time for Jesus’ death was drawing near. Mary, the sister of Lazarus who had been raised from the dead (John 11), anointed the Lord with “costly oil of spikenard” (Mark 14:3). The disciples were upset; Judas in particular noted that the oil could have been “sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor” (John 12:5). Judas, of course, was not really concerned for the poor. John made this clear by identifying the betrayer as a thief. But the cost of the oil was significant. Three hundred denarii would have been about a year’s wages.

The Lord did not concede that Mary’s gift was a waste. In fact, He made it clear that her offering was not only acceptable, but it was “a good work” (Mark 14:6). Those things that are done for Jesus and His church, even if they are costly, they are good. Think about the following things which may take considerable financial resources.

• Supporting sound mission work in a foreign country is good.

• Evangelizing in the local community through the radio, using sound programming like The International Gospel Hour, or direct mailings, such as House to House/Heart to Heart, is good.

• Supporting a man financially so he can devote time to study and then bring the fruits of that study to the congregation and the community is good.

• Making sure the utility bills (water, electricity, heat) are paid so that worship can be conducted orderly and without distraction is good.

• Supplying Bible study materials for adults and children to enhance their knowledge of the Word of God is good.

There are many people who want to do good, but may be limited in how they can serve. And so they contribute to the financial needs of the work of the church. Just as Mary was commended by the Lord for her “good work” near the end of Jesus’ life, so will those who contribute to the work of the church be commended for their “good work.”

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