Do you ever notice perfume in the air? The waft that lingers after a friend leaves the room? Or, a promise of spring coming from the lilac candle in the living room? Pass by a stranger, and if she’s wearing your mother’s old scent, you’re immediately transported to another place and another time.
Three of the four gospels record a tender moment between the Lord Jesus and his friend, Mary of Bethany, a short time before Christ’ death. While He’s at dinner, Mary arrives and proceeds to pour an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume on his head. This is a rather unexpected turn of events, to say the least. The gospel of John adds that she also poured the perfume on his feet, then wiped them with her, apparently, unbound hair.
I’ve been thinking about that moment, trying to play it out in my mind. I wonder where Mary got the perfume; how long had she had it? I wonder what she did the first time the thought came to her to pour her perfume out over Jesus’ feet. Did she push it aside, thinking it would be crazy? Did she busy herself with something—anything—else to make the thought go away? What went through her mind as she resolved to follow through? I have to imagine that the walk from where the perfume was kept to the point at which she fell at Jesus’ feet felt, regardless of the distance, as if it were an endless journey. I even wonder how long the fragrance lingered in the home following that evening as a reminder of what she had done.
She did what she could, when she should, with all that she had…regardless of what those around her murmured. And her Savior read her heart. Turning to those around them, He prophesies, “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.”
The Scriptures tell us that God prepares us in advance for good works in Christ. He gives us the design, the desire, the resources and His results. May we follow Marys' example, pouring out our all for Him. May we, in fact, be “to God the aroma of Christ” and the fragrance of life to those around us.