There were some that had indignation among themselves, saying, To what purpose hath this waste of the ointment been made? Mark 14:4

John’s gospel makes it very clear, this controversy about waste was stirred up by Judas. It’s funny, as much as things change nothing ever changes. When I was first entering into the ministry this dilemma became very real to me. A close relative sat me down to warn me about wasting my life by entering the ministry. He talked with me about responsibility and taking care of my family and how there was no future in the church for me. No one seemed concerned when my life was about partying, it was that blasted church thing that got everyone’s knickers in a wad. If you think about it what Mary did was a picture of our ministry today, she was anointing the ‘body of Christ’. Isn’t that what the ministry is all about, the body of Christ, His church? Here are some thoughts from Watchman Nee on today’s verse.
“What is waste? Waste means, among other things, giving more than is necessary. If a dollar will do and you give ten, it is a waste. If fifty will do and you give a thousand, it is a waste. If three days will suffice to finish a task well enough and you lavish five days or a week on it, it is a waste. Waste means that you give something too much for something too little. If someone is receiving more than he is considered to be worth, then that is waste. Even the twelve thought this woman’s sacrifice excessive. To Judas, of course, who had never called Jesus “Lord,” everything poured out upon Him was a waste, just as in the world’s estimation today our giving ourselves to the service of God is counted sheer waste. But when once our eyes have been opened to the real worth of our Lord Jesus, nothing is too good for Him.”
It’s not just the preachers that are called to ‘waste themselves’ on ministry to the body of Christ. We are all called to minister to the church in many ways. One of my favorites is the tithe, if you give your first tenth to your local church you are pouring out the oil on His body. When you find a place to serve by using your talents in His church, you are pouring out the oil on His body. The worldly people never understand this, they are stuck with Judas thinking ‘Why are you wasting your life?’


  1. As one body in unison it is the mind of Christ that should predominantly move each part to will and to act for His good pleasure. The autonomy to move in the Spirit gives each act a flavor of genuineness that cannot otherwise be attained because it is natural in occurrence within a given set of perimeters. Who would want to be loved by someone under compulsion to come to you and then go back to give a reporting? Micromanaging encroaches upon sincere connections and tends toward a conditionality in the doling out of love and approval which can be in danger of becoming artificially propped if predicated outside of Spirit and truth. Not so much the “what” but the “how”. The Judas thing is ad hominem.

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