Then, six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was who had been dead, whom He had raised from the dead. There they made Him a supper; and Martha served, but Lazarus was one of those who sat at the table with Him. Then Mary took a pound of very costly oil of spikenard, anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped His feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the oil.
But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, “Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it.
But Jesus said, “Let her alone; she has kept this for the day of My burial. For the poor you have with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
Now a great many of the Jews knew that He was there; and they came, not for Jesus’ sake only, but that they might also see Lazarus, whom He had raised from the dead. But the chief priests plotted to put Lazarus to death also, because on account of him many of the Jews went away and believed in Jesus.
We often hear this same complaint spoken against the church at large. Perhaps the gifts of some to the church are like the gift shared by Mary, given from their heart , offered to honor and respect our Lord. Who are we to judge another’s heart? Who are we to decide for another what they should do with what is theirs in the first place? Who are we to determine the best use of anything that God has given to another? At the root of these judgments do we see the same bitter root that Judas displayed? We, perhaps, can get into a critical spirit and find ourselves looking at others rather than looking to our own doings and listening to the voice of the Spirit of God guiding our own actions. What is the true cause for the judgment? Did not God call for the jewels, gold, fur and fine linens to adorn His tabernacle? Were there critics then? Let God judge, we do not know the possible plans He has, and we never need be guilty of hindering His glory.
An act of unselfish love and gratitude is smeared with the judgmental objection of one who had no part in the giving and no right to decide its use. The cold stings the face and hands, unwrapped skin; recoiling from the bitter onslaught, cover is desired drawing inward away from the pain. The beauty of the snow gives way to misery. Withdrawing to the warmth of the interior, away from the inflicted pain, the thaw of the fire and light is welcome. Criticism is the cold, and what appeared at first to be an agent of beauty and enjoyment turned bitter. Escape to the true warmth of a fire lit by the Spirit of God gives comfort and peace. Let us spread a positive thought to counter the negative we have been made aware of, rather than speak more criticism with no offer of the warmth and love of Christ’s teachings. It is not enough to only point out the ways in which we err, Christ followed his truths with acts and teachings that heal, giving opportunity for change.
The voice in the wilderness exposed sin, then called for repentance and provided a means to change and new life. If we are to be that voice, follow through with the message that gives the means for change.