Now, I want you to take God’s Word, and I want you to open it, please, to the Gospel of Mark, the 14th chapter. Today, we’re going to be thinking on “Our Best for Jesus.” Mark, the 14th chapter, and we begin in verse 3: a marvelous episode in the life of our Lord. It’s so important, that it was recorded by all four Gospel writers.
Mark 14:3: “And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me. For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always. She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her” (Mark 14:3-9).
What a beautiful, marvelous story this is! Now, I want you to get the setting of this story. Jesus has raised Lazarus from the dead. Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha. Mary, and Martha, and Lazarus were friends of the Lord Jesus, and He’d often spent the night in their home, and been refreshed in their home. And now, Lazarus was sick; he had died. And, Jesus had revived him, and brought him back to life. And, as we read all of the Gospel accounts, we can tell that the feast that is described here, in Mark chapter 14, is a celebration for Lazarus coming back to life.
Now, I want you to get the picture. The table is set. All of the notable guests are there. Jesus and Lazarus are talking. Martha is in the kitchen, serving and cooking. And, Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus. Her heart is filled with love for the Lord Jesus. She looks at Him with eyes of rapture and delight. He is the One who has raised her brother from the dead. After a while, she quietly slips out, and she comes back. And, she has in her hand something extremely, exquisitely beautiful; it is an alabaster box. And, inside that alabaster box, or flask, is very, very expensive perfume, or ointment. And, Mary breaks that box—just breaks it—and pours the perfume on the head of Jesus, pours the ointment on the feet of Jesus. She doesn’t care about criticism. She cares not about custom. She cares not about the cost. All she can see is her love for Jesus.
And then, she gets down on her knees. She takes that long hair, and pulls it over her shoulder—that silken black hair. And, she mingles the ointment with her tears. And, she wipes the feet of Jesus, and praises Him. Jesus was moved by what Mary did. And, Jesus said, “She hath wrought a good work on me” (Mark 14:6). And, Jesus said, “Wherever the Gospel is preached, what she has done will be remembered as a memorial to her” (Mark 14:9). That scripture is being fulfilled in your ears today, because Mary lived almost 2,000 years ago; and yet, we’re still remembering her today. A man named Adrian Rogers is preaching in Memphis, Tennessee, to people like you, about a little maiden named Mary, so long ago. Now, Jesus said, “She hath wrought a good work on me” (Mark 14:6).
This is Labor Day weekend, all right? Now, I want you to think of the labor that lasts—the labor that lasts! Because, Jesus said, “What she’s done will never, ever be forgotten!” I say, this is a very important story, and it deals with work that Jesus calls “a good work” (Mark 14:6). So, it would behoove every one of us in this place, today, to pay attention, because, if you want some labor that will last, if you want something that can be a Labor Day, and a Memorial Day, and any other day, all rolled into one, I want you to listen, and learn five wonderful things that made this work such a very wonderful work.
I. A Misunderstood Work
The very first thing I want you to notice with me is that her work was a misunderstood work. Look, if you will, in verse 4. We’re in Mark 14:4: “And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence” (Mark 14:4-5). Now, a pence was a day’s labor. More than 300 pence would be about a year’s work. It would take a laboring man about a whole year to make enough money to buy that much ointment, that much perfume. And, it was gone, just like that. I mean, it was all poured out. There were some people who were very indignant. They said, “What a waste! What an extravagance, that, in a moment of time, a year’s labor is gone, just like that!” “Why,” they said, “this ointment could have been sold, and the money been used to feed the poor!”
Do you know who it was that was leading that criticism? John tells us it was a man named Judas, who betrayed Jesus—the hypocrite. And, here’s what Judas said, in John 12:5—he said, “Why was not this ointment sold for three hundred pence, and given to the poor?” And then, John says this: “This he said, not that he cared for the poor; but because he was a thief” (John 12:5-6). Have you noticed how easy it is for some people to spend other people’s money? Now, ole’ Judas here—he’s talking about the poor, but he doesn’t care about the poor. I want to tell you, there are a lot of people today talking about poor people, who don’t care about poor people. All they care about are votes. All they care about is money.
And, they are glad to take somebody else’s money and spend it to get what they want—all the time talking about the poor. Judas’ crowd is still with us. Now, there’s nothing in this scripture that says we ought not to take care of the poor. Indeed, we should! And, this scripture teaches that. But, not everybody talking about taking care of the poor is interested in taking care of the poor. Ole’ Judas said that; but the Bible says Judas “was a thief” (John 12:6). There are some people who are good at spending other people’s money for their own need, and, at the same time, are always talking platitudes about the poor. Don’t misunderstand—Jesus said we are to take care of the poor. But, how easy it is to criticize! And, Mary’s work was a misunderstood work. There are some people who think their calling in life, I think, is to criticize what other people do for Jesus.
I told you this story a long time ago, but it fits so well; I want to share it with you. There was a man in a particular church—a smaller church—who opened a broom closet; and, inside, he found five brand new brooms. He hit the ceiling. He went to whoever it was that was in charge of buying commodities for the church, and he said, “Whoever authorized anybody around here to buy five brand new brooms at one time? We’re not even meeting our budget! We don’t need five brooms at one time! That’s a waste of money!” And, he was very angry. The man couldn’t satisfy him; and, finally, the man was into the pastor’s office. Of course, the pastor didn’t have anything else to do except to talk about five brooms. And so, the man was there to talk, and the pastor tried to pacify him. And, the pastor said, “Well, I don’t know. Maybe we use a lot of brooms. Maybe there was a sale on brooms. I don’t understand. But, don’t fall out of fellowship over it.” But, the man never was satisfied, and he left the pastor’s office in a huff. After a while, the pastor was having coffee with the church treasurer, and the pastor told the church treasurer about this. The church treasurer just smiled. “Ah,” he said, “Pastor, I can understand that.” He said, “That’s easy for me to understand why he was so upset.” “Well,” the pastor said, “would you please explain it to me?” And, the treasurer said to the pastor, “Well, how would you feel if you saw everything you had given to the church in the past year tied up in five brooms?” Amen?
There are some small people who find it so easy to criticize what other people do with their money. But, I tell you what: Mary was not at all interested in what they were saying. They were criticizing, but Mary wasn’t paying much attention to their criticism. And, you’re going to be criticized, if you pour your life out to the Lord Jesus Christ. But, I want to tell you why you don’t need to pay much attention to them. Number one: Look, if you will, in verse 6: “And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me” (Mark 14:6). Jesus will defend you.
Jesus will defend you. Number two: It is their problem. Judas had a problem. It wasn’t Mary that had a problem; it was Judas who had a problem. And, you can’t make yourself sick in order to make them well. That’s their problem. Number three: I doubt that Mary heard it. She was having such a wonderful time at the feet of Jesus, just worshipping and praising the Lord Jesus. And, don’t you let some hypocrite, some meddlesome hypocrite, keep you away from the joy that you have in the Lord Jesus.
Now, they said that it was a waste—it was a waste—just to pour out lavishly, extravagantly, this perfume, upon the Lord Jesus. Friend, I want to tell you that there’s more than one kind of waste, and there’s more than one kind of poverty. There is the poverty that comes with hunger; but Jesus said, “Is not life more than meat, and the body more than clothes?” (Matthew 6:25). There’s also a spiritual poverty, and there are spiritual needs that need to be met. You see, we measure waste by worth. For example, if someone were to buy a Rembrandt, a Van Gogh, or some beautiful painting and spend $100,000, $200,000, or $300,000 for it, no one would say that it was a waste. They would say it’s an investment, because it’s worth so much. But, if a person were to spend $10 or $15 for some little piece of tin, or metal, or some trashy novel, somebody would say that’s a waste. And, well, they might. You see, waste has to be measured by worth.
Now, what was Mary doing? To her, it was worth it to pour this out upon Jesus. Did you know that our word worship and our word worth are connected? Do you know what worship is? Worship is realizing the worth-ship of somebody. You see? How much is Jesus worth? Well, my friend, let me tell you something: It’s not a waste to pour your life out on Jesus. He’s worth it! He’s worth it! The waste is to spend your life doing anything else other than serving Him. You know, I’ve had people indicate to me that I have wasted my life by going into the ministry. “Why, you ought to be in business, or you ought to do this or that. What a waste!” Friend, I wish I had a thousand lives to waste this way, I mean, to serve the Lord, to pour out my life! You see, the world thinks that what we give to Jesus and what we lavish on Jesus—they think that’s a waste! Her work, first of all, was a misunderstood work. And, anybody who loves the Lord Jesus, fully, extravagantly, recklessly, the world will say, “What a pity! What a waste!” But, my friend, that’s their problem, not yours. That was Judas’ problem. And, you can’t make yourself sick to make them well. Just keep on worshipping Jesus. He is worth it.
II. A Meager Work
I want you to notice something else—not only was it a misunderstood work; it was a meager work. Look, if you will, in verse 8 of this chapter—Jesus says, in verse 8: “She hath done what she could” (Mark 14:8). Now, that’s very interesting. You see, there wasn’t a lot Mary could do. Mary wasn’t one of those talented people.
Now, we all have those; we all know those eight-cylinder people—I mean, those talented people, those people like Martha. You know, Mary and Martha were always contrasted. Martha was the person who was very efficient. Martha was an executress. She was the kind, that if there was anything to do, Martha would just take hold and do it. She knew how to set the table. I mean, she could have everything ready for guests. She could have the tablecloth ready, the flowers on the table, the napkins in place, folded just so. I mean—listen—she had a lifetime subscription to Better Homes and Gardens. She was one of those kinds of women that if, at 8:30 in the morning, on Monday morning, the house wasn’t cleaned, she’d feel like she’d sinned. She just knew how to get things done. She was like that man who said he got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom, and, when he came back, his wife had made the bed. Now, that’s the kind of woman Martha was! I mean, she was efficiency! She was one of those people who knew how to take hold.
Mary wasn’t that kind of a person. Mary’s thinking, “Now, what can I do? Peter can preach; and Jesus can perform miracles; and Martha is so great in the kitchen! And, she’s so efficient! What can I do?” She remembered that alabaster box of ointment. She brings that alabaster box of ointment. That was all she knew how to do. That’s all she could do! But, she did it; and, Jesus said, “She hath done what she could” (Mark 14:8)—a meager work that Jesus appreciated.
Now, you know, it’s time that we stopped comparing ourselves with other people. There are so many that say, “Oh, if I could just sing like Lynn just sang! Oh, yes, if I could just play the piano like Margaret plays the piano! If I’d just had the ability that Phil Weatherwax has with money, and figures, and all of those things—his great mind—then I’d serve the Lord!” Friend, let me tell you something: The question is not, “What can they do?” The question is, “What are you going to do with what you have?” The only thing God is going to demand of you is that which He’s given you. “If just a cup of water I place within your hand, then just a cup of water is all that I demand.” And, we need to stop comparing ourselves with other people and saying, “Oh, if I were like Martha, I would do something.” You see, the important thing is that Mary did what she could. That’s the important thing.
A man said to a good ole’ tall, strapping, big man like Phil Weatherwax, he said, “If I were as big, and tall, and strong as you, I’d go out in the woods, and, I’d find the biggest bear in the woods, and I’d wrestle him down to the ground.” That man said, “There are plenty of little bears in the woods.”
Now, you know, some of you say, “Oh, if I just had a million dollars! What I’d do with a million dollars!” I’ll tell you what you’d do with a million dollars: What you’d do with a million dollars is what you’re doing with that fifty dollars that you have. The Bible says, “He that is faithful in that which is least is faithful also in much” (Luke 16:10). And, if you’re not faithful in that which is least, you would not be faithful in that which is much. And, the question is not, “What are you going to do with what you don’t have?” The question is, “What are you going to do with that which you do have?”
People were bringing, in a Sunday School class for children, bringing little things together to teach the Bible. And, one boy brought some water, and that illustrated, “I’m the Water of Life” (Revelation 21:6). The other brought some flowers, and that illustrated Jesus was the Rose of Sharon (Song of Solomon 2:1). And, somebody else brought some bread, and Jesus is the Bread of Life (John 6:35). A little boy brought a bantam egg. Do you know what a bantam hen is? He brought one of those little eggs like that, and the teacher said, “What does that represent?” The little fellow said, “She hath done what she could” (Mark 14:8).
Now, you may not be a Rhode Island Red. I mean, you may not be a dominator. You may not be one of these big hens. That’s all right! You see, the important thing is not that you measure yourself by somebody else. The question there was not, “What could Martha do?” The question there was, “What could Mary do?” Mary did what she could. And, you stop comparing yourselves to other people. There is something that you can do, and, therefore, something that you ought to do for the Lord Jesus.
On a more serious note, let’s just imagine parents who have born to themselves twins. And, one twin has brain damage; the other twin doesn’t. And, let’s suppose that time comes and goes. And, in the process of time, one son goes off to a prestigious college, and he comes home at mid-term. And, he sits in the living room with his father, and he says, “Dad, I’ve got good news for you. Dad, I haven’t wasted my time at school. Oh, I’ve had time for relaxation, but not much, Dad. I’ve worked, Dad. I have studied. I have not squandered your money. And, Dad, you’ll be pleased to know I’m carrying almost a 4.0 average. Dad, I’ve made the Honor Roll. Dad, I’ve made the Dean’s List!” And, I can hear that father, as he says, “Son, that’s so wonderful. Son, I’m so proud of you. You’re such a good boy. You’ve worked hard, Son! You’ve earned those grades; and, I want you to know Daddy is proud of you!”
About that time, the man feels something fumbling around down at his feet. He looks down there, at his feet, and there’s that other son. He looks up, and he says, “Daddy, I just learned how to tie your shoelaces, Daddy. Look, Daddy, I can tie your shoelaces!” What do you think that dad’s going to do? I’ll tell you what he’s going to do: He’s going to reach down, and pull that boy up, and hug him. He’s going to say, “Son, Daddy’s so proud of you! Oh, Son, that’s wonderful! Come, Mama, look what our boy can do! Look at him tying Daddy’s shoelaces!”
I want to tell you, my dear friend, when God comes to measure you, He’s not going to measure you against Billy Graham, or somebody else. “Unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall much be required” (Luke 12:48). The important thing was not that Mary couldn’t do what Martha could do, but that Mary did what Mary could do. Hers may have seemed like a meager work, but Jesus said, “She hath done what she could” (Mark 14:8). It was a misunderstood work. It was a meager work.
III. A Mighty Work
But, on the other hand, it was a mighty work, because, you see, meager and mighty are all in the eyes of the beholder. Why was it so mighty? I’ll tell you why it was so mighty: because she gave it all, and she gave it to Jesus. Now, that’s a pretty good recipe. Jesus said, “She hath wrought a good work on me” (Mark 14:6). Now, friend, she gave it all! A-L-L! Don’t you like the idea that she broke the box? There’s no way to put it back in there.
Now, most of us, we’d say, “Yes, Lord Jesus. Let me pour out some of this perfume. It’s very expensive, you know, Jesus. It’s worth a year’s labor. And Jesus, I want to give You some of it to show You how much I love You.” Not Mary. You’re going to understand why Jesus was so moved about this; you’re going to understand why Jesus said, “It’s going to last for all eternity” (Mark 14:9). Because, she gave it all, and she gave it all to Him. She didn’t hold back any for a rainy day. She’s not holding back some for retirement. She’s not saying, “Now, Lord, I want to give You something, but not all.” I want to ask you a question: Do you have the same difficulty that I have? In my heart, I love Jesus, and I want to serve Him; but the devil tells me, “Now, Adrian, don’t give it all to Him. I mean, my goodness, Adrian, look out for yourself. I mean, you might just be left high and dry! Don’t just give it all. Yes, give Him some, and keep some!” The devil ever talk to you that way? Don’t look so pious. Yes, sure.
What’s Mary doing? I mean, the thing was broken! You couldn’t put it back in. I mean, who, in that day, especially a little woman, would have this much stored up? I mean, where did she get it? Maybe out of her hope chest; maybe it was her inheritance that her daddy left her; or maybe it’s there for her old age. But, she gave it all! That challenges me, people. That speaks to my heart. I want to tell you, today, as I was preparing this message, I had to stop and say, “Lord, am I willing to break the alabaster box—not pour out of it? Am I willing to break it? Say, ‘Here it is, Lord: the dearest treasure I have; here, Lord, at Your disposal, pour it out upon Your precious head, pour it out upon Your feet?'” You see, it was a mighty work—a mighty work. I’ll tell you why: because of the focus of it, and the fullness of it. The focus of it: It was upon Him. The fullness of it: She broke that alabaster box. No wonder Jesus was impressed. No wonder Jesus said, “She hath wrought a good work on me” (Mark 14:6).
IV. A Meaningful Work
I want to tell you something else about it: It was not only a mighty work; it was a meaningful work. Look, if you will, in verse 8: “She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying” (Mark 14:8). That’s very interesting. I mean, in a week, Jesus will be dead. In a week, Jesus will be nailed upon that cross. And, Mary is coming to anoint the body of Jesus. Very meaningful! That’s interesting.
Who gave Mary that insight? How did Mary know about this? How was Mary anticipating the crucifixion of her Lord? I really don’t know, but I have an idea. You know, Mary had a very favorite place, and do you know where that favorite place was? You can’t read the Bible without discovering it. It was at the feet of Jesus. You read there, where she was criticized, in Luke 10—just put it in your margin, and beginning in verse 38; and then, read it when you get home.
Oh, Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus, and Meatloaf Martha was in the kitchen. And, she’s in the kitchen, and she cries out, and she says, “Jesus! Send her in here to help me” (Luke 10:40). And, Jesus said, “Now, Martha, Mary has chosen the better part. Fine to serve; fine to do all that. But, she’s chosen the better part” (Luke 10:42). I mean, Mary was sitting there, at the feet of Jesus!
And, I tell you—I believe that Mary had a spiritual sensitivity. I believe that she had read into the death, and burial, and resurrection of Lazarus, and the fore gleams of her Lord’s death, burial, and resurrection. And, Jesus had spoken about Himself as being the resurrection and the life, and Mary had understood these things. And, she knew that, before long, her Lord would be nailed upon that tree! And, Jesus said, “She’s come before time to anoint my body” (Mark 14:8).
About a week later, I want you to imagine a scene. It’s Easter morning, early in the morning. Some women are traveling. We get in behind them. We say, “Where are you going?” “Oh, we’re going to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea, where Jesus is buried.” “What do you have with you?” “Oh, we have some ointment. We have some perfume. We have some spices.” “What are you going to do with it?” “Oh, you see, they buried Jesus in such a hurry; they didn’t anoint His body for the burial. We’re coming to anoint the body of Jesus. We’re going to see if we can get the soldiers to roll away the stone, so we can go in and anoint the body of Jesus.” When they get there, there’s no need to ask the soldiers to roll away that stone, ’cause it skipped on up the hill. And, Jesus is not there. And, there’s no way that they could anoint the body of Jesus, because it was too late for anybody to anoint that body. He’d already been raised from the dead. I want to tell you something, friend: Had Mary not anointed Jesus when she did, she never would have.
You see, are you paying attention? She did what she could; she did all she could; and she did it when she could. Are you paying attention? She did what she could; she did all she could; and she did it when she could. She came ahead of time to anoint the body of Jesus, because she was spiritually sensitive. Now, there are some of you who are going to wait too long. You’re going to hear a sermon about an alabaster box, but you’re not about to break it. And then, when the opportunity passes, it’ll be too late. Somebody wrote these words a long time ago. I don’t know who they were, but they’re good words: “Do your givin’ while you’re livin’; then you’re knowin’ where it’s goin’.” Amen? You see, one of these days, you’ll just keep that alabaster box in the closet; then, one of these days, you’re going to die. And, you’ll go in the alabaster box. You’re going to find out that the worms have gotten some of it. The moths have gotten some of it. The rust has gotten some of it. Thieves have gotten some of it. Then, you’ll find out what’s left. The government’s going to get some of it; and the lawyers are going to get some of it; and the kids are going to fight over the rest of it. I’m so glad, and I know Mary’s glad, for all eternity, that she didn’t wait a week to anoint the body of Jesus. If she had, she never would have.
You see, what are we really in the business of doing? Getting people ready for death. That’s our business. A lady called me on the phone, “Pastor Rogers! Pastor Rogers! Pastor Rogers!” I said, “Get a hold of yourself. What’s wrong?” She said, “It’s my daddy! My daddy died! My daddy’s in Hell, Preacher. My daddy’s in Hell! My daddy’s in Hell! My daddy’s dead, and he’s in Hell.” I said, “Lady, get a hold of yourself. Your daddy’s not in Hell. Your daddy’s dead, but he’s not in Hell.” She said, “Oh, yes. He’s not a Christian. He’d never confessed Christ!” I said, “He confessed Christ. A week ago, I sat down with your daddy and, with an open Bible, led your daddy to Jesus Christ. Your daddy’s not in Hell. Your daddy’s in Heaven.” But, I’ve often thought about that: how excited she got after his death.
Are you listening to me? One of these days, the clods are going to fall on that casket. One of these days, they’re going to put the dirt over. They’re going to close the casket lid. And, if you’ve not witnessed, if you’ve not won that one, it’s going to be too late. We’d better anoint them with the oil of gladness, and with the perfume of salvation, before it’s too late! What I am saying to you, ladies and gentlemen, is that Mary did what she could; she did all she could; and she did it when she could. It was a meaningful work. She came to anoint His body for the burial ahead of time.
I want to say a last thing: It was a memorable work. Look, if you will, in verse 9. Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial to her” (Mark 14:9). And, it is true. All the four Gospel writers tell this story. Today, in 1983, I am preaching about this wonderful thing that she did. And, she broke her alabaster box. And, I want to tell you, the world is still filled with the perfume, isn’t it? And, I smell some of it today. And, I want to tell you, in my studies, I’ve studied this story. The sweet perfume of Mary’s sacrifice has filled my study, pervaded my life, and challenged my heart—what a lady did almost 2,000 years ago, who wasn’t talented, who wasn’t gifted. But, she did what she could. And, we’re remembering it today.
You see, I want to tell you something, friend: Not everything’s going to last. A thousand years from now, some of the things that you think are so important are not going to be so important. It’s not going to matter about your lawn—whether the drought got it or not. It’s not going to matter who won between Ole Miss and Memphis State—not a thousand years from now. It’s not going to matter about the style of your hair, and your friends, and your fun, and your games. There’s nothing wrong with these things; but I want to ask you: What is there about your life that’s going to remain, when the mountains have crumbled, when the stars have fallen from their sockets, and when all that men have dreamed for, and schemed for, and sold their souls for, has turned to rust, and dust, and mold, and corruption? You see, the Bible says there’s coming a judgment seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10). And, if any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss. Wood, hay and stubble are going up in flames (1 Corinthians 3:15). But, if any man’s work abide, he shall receive a reward: gold, and silver, and precious stones—abiding works (1 Corinthians 3:14).
Is your work going to abide? On Labor Day weekend 1983—on Labor Day weekend—do you know anything about the labor that lasts? “She hath wrought a good work on me” (Mark 14:6). And, wherever the gospel is preached, down through the centuries, and into all eternity, it’s going to matter that she broke that alabaster box. You see, things are going to look different in the light of eternity. Some things that seem very important, now, are not going to seem so important then.
Paul was that gospel preacher—a little two-bit preacher in the eyes of many people. Some called him a mad man. They scoffed at him. They didn’t even pay him well. He had to make tents for a living. But, I’ll tell you who the big shot was in that day: Nero, the emperor of Rome. Nero! But, have you ever thought about the fact that, today, we call our boys Paul and our dogs Nero? Things are going to be different.
I mean, what is there about your life that lasts? What is there about your life that’s going to count for all eternity? Daniel 12:3 says: “And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever” (Daniel 12:3). Mary’s work will never, ever end, because she did what she could, she did all she could, and she did it when she could.
I want you to bow your heads in prayer. Every head bowed, every eye closed, and no one moving about in this auditorium. This is the most important part of the service. Now, I want you to do something, right now, while heads are bowed. I want you to go to that spot in your mind, and I want you to get that alabaster box. You know where it is. I want you to get that dearest treasure on Earth to you. Get it, right now. I want you to hold it in your hand, right now. I want you to look at it. Look at it. Do you see it? How beautiful it is! How precious it is to you! How sweet it is to you! And, here’s what I want you to do: I want you to see Jesus, for sinners crucified. I want you to behold the Lamb.
And now, I want you to take that box, and I want you to break it, right now. In your heart, in your mind—break it. Break it! Don’t pour out of it. Break it. Pour it on His head. Pour it on His feet.
I wonder, have I done my best for Jesus,
Who died upon the cruel tree?
To think of His great sacrifice at Calv’ry!
I know my Lord expects the best from me. (Edwin Young)
While we’re doing that, let me say a word to those of you who are watching by television. O precious friend, if you don’t know Jesus, would you call, right now? You can be saved, this morning. And, someone will pray with you and lead you to Jesus.
Now, heads are still bowed here, in the congregation. Have you broken that box at His feet? Have you? Have you? I’m not asking you what someone else can do, and not what someone else owns. I’m asking what are you going to do with what you have.
“Lord Jesus”—your heart has been moved, and stirred, and challenged—”and Lord, I want to take all that I have or hope to be, and place it at Your disposal. And Lord, I refuse to believe that it is a waste. I believe, Lord, it’s the greatest investment I could make.” Still, while heads are bowed, and eyes are closed, I want to remind you of this: that when Mary wiped the feet of Jesus with her hair, that sweet fragrance that was on Jesus was now on Mary; and, whatever you pour out on Jesus, always comes back on you. I just pray God that, in your life this week, there’ll be such a fragrance, because you’ve broken that box at Jesus’ feet. Lord Jesus, take us as individuals. Take us, Lord, as a church. And Lord, just fill this place with the sweet perfume of a broken alabaster box. In Jesus’ name. Amen.