I have always been encouraged by the passage in Mark 14:8, when the Lord said with regard to a saintly woman (Mary) who anointed His head (figuratively preparing Him for His burial). “She hath done what she could; she hath anointed my body beforehand for the burying” (ASV).

A waste of perfume, some said. That perfume could have been sold and the money gained distributed to meet the needs of those who, at that time, were poor. Jesus, however, gave no countenance to such a suggestion because that which she did, she did for Him. She did what she could.

It is quite unfortunate that some will use the word of Jesus (“the poor you have among you always”) as a form of justification to not do something that benefits others because “the poor you have among you always.” The case at hand in no way legitimizes such a way of thinking. With regard to Jesus, His was a significant and unique event.

He was in the last week of His life; already some praised His entrance into Jerusalem in such a way that it could not go unnoticed. What was a poor woman going to do to prepare her King for His great mission ahead? She chose to take costly ointment and “waste” it on the Lord. Of course, there was no wasting at all because it was the Lord God who received it.

This reminds me of the widow woman with two mites (Luke 21:1-4). The monetary value of that which she gave amounted to “about six minutes of an average daily wage.” She gave all that she had.

This also piggybacks well with the thought of the apostle John, “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10). When we come to understand love, not as we ourselves have learned to define and apply love, but as He who defined and lived in accordance with love, when we come to understand love like that, then no gift of any size is too large a gift. In fact, He gave all that He had.