What a Waste!

Summer Devotional: Week 1

Getting Started

Welcome to week 1 of our Summer Weekly Devotional! Each week, we'll be posting a devotional written by Greek IV staff. Set aside 5 or 10 minutes to read the devotional and reflect on the passage. Our hope is that you will grow in your faith this summer through regular time in God's Word. In today's passage, Jesus is with his disciples at his friend Simon's house. He's within just two days of his death and something surprising happens.

Matthew 26:6-13

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table.

When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”

10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. 12 When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

Questions to Consider

1. Why is the woman pouring out this expensive perfume? What's the deal with that?

2. Why does her actions make the disciples, "idignant"? Is what she is doing actually wasteful?

3. Why does Jesus say her actions are "beautiful"? What do you think is motivating the woman? Motivating the disciples?


Closing Reflection

We live in a culture that values "stuff". And let's be honest, Greek life LOVES stuff. We're constantly on the prowel for what's new and relevant, staying ahead of the curve as much as possible. Stuff seems to give us meaning and value. In today's passage, this woman does something surprising. She takes her "stuff", her expensive perfume, and "wastes" it all over Jesus. This would be like taking the most expensive bottle of champagne and pouring it on the ground. The disciples look down their noses at her, isn't this wasteful?? But no, Jesus says it is beautiful. This woman gives her most precious thing in order to honor Jesus. In the eyes of the world, this is wasteful. But to Jesus this is beautiful.

But "stuff" is more than just physical items. It's also our time, talents, and ambitions. Our culture today might tell us that if we sacrifice these things to the growth of our faith, that is also a waste. For example, when I got hired by Greek InterVarsity, people around me were concerned. Why turn down high paying jobs elsewhere in order to work for a non-profit that pays a pitance? Why say no to the networking opportunities and status of a high profile/high profit company to work for a ministry? They were worried that I was throwing my time and talents down the drain. Essentially they were saying the same thing as the disciples: "What a waste!"

But the truth is that when we give what is most precious and valuable to Jesus, he sees this as admirable! When we are willing to give him our time, our reputation, our ambitions, our dreams, and sure, even our physical "stuff", the world might call it a waste but Jesus calls it "beautiful."

Whenever we give to God what is most precious and valuable to us, it is never a waste. It is a beautiful thing.  

As you think about this summer, consider these areas:

1. Time- How is Jesus inviting you to "waste" time with him? How can you practice giving Jesus the expensive gift of time, trusting that it will be a "beautiful thing"?

2. Motivations- What drives you to do what you do? Why are you at your internship/job/or taking the classes you're taking? Is it out of love for Jesus or something else?

3. Stuff- What things are most precious to you? How would you feel if you were to "waste" them on Jesus? How would others respond?

About the Author
Associate National Director


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