“You always have the poor with you, and you can do good for them whenever you want, but you do not always have Me. She has done what she could….” Mark 14:7-8a
You are probably familiar with the setting in which Jesus spoke these words. While Jesus was reclining at the table of the home of Simon, Mary (the sister of Martha and Lazarus) came and poured out a bottle of expensive oil on Jesus’s feet. Some of those around were not so pleased that she had “wasted” a really expensive bottle of oil on Jesus when it could have been sold and the money given to the poor.
Jesus rebukes the crowd and commends Mary, calling her noble. Then, he reminds them of a very important reality. There is good you will always be able to do and then there is good that you can only do as long as the people you want to bless are there. It really is the principle of good, better, best, isn’t it?
And it got me thinking…how am I using my “oil”? Who are the people I am investing my time in and giving my attention to for the glory of God? What are things that are always there, that I can seek out anytime, and who are the people that I may only have been entrusted with for a short time that need the oil of my sacrifice the most?
As far as I know, I’ll always have good, godly books available to read. Facebook and the ability to stay caught up with friends around the globe will still be at my fingertips. Blogs will not go too far…both the reading of them and the writing of posts, as well. The walls will still stand even if they don’t have that extra coat of paint and the stores will still stock racks of clothes or cute decorations to adorn my body and home with. There are things I can do, activities I can participate in at any given moment on any given day.
But there are those moments, those people that will not always be with me. I’m beginning to live that reality. My kids are slowly leaving the nest and my time with some of them is but a fraction of what it was before. My opportunity to pray with a gal in the midst of pain and struggle is a small window that I must jump through before the conversation comes to a close. The blessing of serving the mama who is sick and has little ones in need of care is limited to the days she is sick and in need of the most help. The time to encourage the fainthearted and weary is best served during their moments of exhaustion. The times we have with others are limited by just that…time! And time is something that we can never get back.
So much of my days are filled with things that, in many ways, are always with me….from cleaning, to laundry, to meal prep, to errands. These are good and important and must not be neglected. We are still called to steward the resources God has given and meet the daily needs that God has placed before us and entrusted to us. But I don’t want to grow near-sighted and forget to look around me. There are opportunities to die to self, to meet the needs of people who are in circumstances that won’t always be there. Am I anointing those things with the oil of sacrifice and joyful service as I seek to honor the Lord? Are you?
May we seek the Lord and ask Him for wisdom to know not only what is good and better but what is best in each step we take!
“So teach us to number our days that we may get a heart of wisdom.” Psalm 90:12