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Sometimes we just don't know all the facts.  A woman arrived unannounced to a dinner at which Jesus was a guest. She broke open a container of expensive perfumed oil and anointed him with it.  Other guest were critical. They reasoned that the value of the perfume might have been better allotted to the poor.

The critics were possibly regular donors to the poor just as many good churchmen are today. Some give to World Vision; others to Amnesty International, or perhaps the Red Cross. Many contribute to charitable programs sponsored by their own church in their local community. Many assure themselves, having so donated, that they are free to do what they like with what they kept back for themselves. Some even feel moved to offer gratuitous advice to others who cannot afford to give as much as they do, as to the responsible use of what little means they possess.

The woman who anointed Jesus was on the receiving end of just such advice. It was advice which Jesus critiqued. "She did what she could," he said. She gave not a small part of what she had, she gave all. She did not give according to what others said she ought to give. She gave what she could.

We are not called by God to do what others can do, we are called to do what we can do. The imitation of the other people's charitable exercises is not our discipleship.  We are invited to be ourselves in following Christ; to let our love for God be truly ours and not someone else's.  Christ will gladly receive from us the symbols of our devotion, whether small or large.  

Jesus saw meaning in the woman's act of love that even she never imagined for it. Knowing that in a few days time, he would be executed by his own people, Jesus incorporated her simple gesture into his campaign to save the world by loving it.

The things we do for God--some big but clumsy, some notorious , some silly and awkward--Christ takes them and weaves them into the fabric of his grand purpose.

"She poured perfume on my body to prepare it for burial" (Mark 14:8).

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