Imagine a private dinner party among men being disrupted by an uninvited guest. A woman barged in and did something unusual that made everyone a bit uncomfortable. “She came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on Jesus’ head.” Mark 14:3. Well, that was weird, right? It didn’t fit the social setting in the least.
The reaction of the men gives us insight into just how disrupted and uncomfortable their evening had become. “Some became indignant saying, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.’ And rebuked her harshly.”
“Let her alone.” Jesus said. Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. Mark 14: 4-6. Indignance is a reaction often displayed when extravagant worship takes place. Acts of devotion like this woman showed might be viewed as radical, disruptive and even wasteful or sacrilegious. Certainly, the men present when Jesus was anointed in this passage had more fitting, religious ideas in mind for the cost of the perfume.
I can almost hear the indignance throughout scripture. The poor widow who gave all the money she had with nothing for her next meal. – She is out of her mind! How does the think she is going to eat?
“Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.” Matthew 4:4
Can’t you feel the indignance of many who witnessed John the Baptist roaming through the dessert wearing animal skins and eating bugs? -He really is out there!
“See I am doing a new thing! Now is springs up; don’t you perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:19
The crowd didn’t hide their indignance at the two blind men who yelled for Jesus. They were told to be quiet, but they shouted all the louder. I can almost see the eye rolls among the crowd. According to the scriptures, these men were seeking approval of God, not man. By yelling to the top of their lungs, they got Jesus’ attention and were given their sight. When it comes to acts of devotion to God, it is deeply personal. Sometimes displays of worship will not make sense to those who are witnessing.
Follow the words of Jesus, “Let her alone.” Some of the most beautiful acts of worship will not make sense this side of heaven. They are radical, they are extravagant, and they are beautiful to our Lord. Just because others worship in ways that are different that you, it isn’t a way of saying your worship is wrong. We are created so vastly different so there are endless ways to worship.
There is no room for indignance or rebuke when it comes to acts of worship. It doesn’t have to make sense to you, after all it is not for your benefit. Cultivate a heart of gratitude when it comes to various styles of worship. And if you have been playing it safe for fear others will become indignant, free yourself to worship the way you are called to worship.
The men at the dinner party said the woman was being wasteful, but Jesus said “Let nothing be wasted” in John 6. When it comes to acts of worship, no matter how big or small, nothing is wasted. When it comes to glorifying our Savior who radically and extravagantly poured himself our for us, no form of worship will be wasted. Let us not hold back our praise, for He did not hold back his compassion for us.