How many of us have ever sat down and thought about what our priorities are in life? Think about it for a moment what they might be, then think how much attention you apply to them. What really matters to you is the way you live your present life. Let me suggest to you some of the things people make their priorities. Family, their work or study, their career path, finances, health, leisure time. Then there is their home, their retirement fund, etc. You may want to add some other things that come to mind. Note, I haven’t mentioned God or church, have I? But that’s where this message comes in. In this Sunday’s Gospel we see various people with vastly different attitudes to Jesus and vastly different priorities.
Martha is doing her thing, serving the meal, Mary kneels at Jesus feet, not to listen to him, not to mourn the death of Lazarus, but to anoint him. If Jesus is the king, Mary wants to anoint him, and she does it with very expensive perfume.
Mark tells us that she pours it on his head; John mentions his feet. It may be that she pours it on both, but John wants us to see that this is an act of self-humbling devotion on the part of Mary, kneeling before her king.
Let’s look at some contrasts that come out very clearly, particularly between Mary and Judas. As I said at the beginning, priorities matter. What I didn’t say was that what we do with our money often reflects what our true priorities are. Remember Jesus saying: Where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Well it works the other way around as well. Where your heart is, that’s where you’ll invest your treasure.
It’s quite clear Mary’s heart is in it. An expensive jar of pure nard is nothing compared to the privilege of anointing the King of Israel. By contrast, Judas is more worried about what might be done with the money that this jar would bring in the market place, particularly if he could get his hands on it.
It’s interesting isn’t it, that though he claims to be a disciple, a friend of Jesus, Judas doesn’t have kingdom priorities. He seems to be in it for what he can get out of it.
We need to examine our motives, our behavior, to really see what our priorities are, when it comes to the crunch, when the rubber meets the road.
Where do your priorities lie when it comes to Jesus, to God, to God’s church? Are they high on your list or down somewhere in the middle, or perhaps even lower.
Mary gave up a lot to show her love for Jesus. It can be costly to be a disciple. But what Jesus offers far outweighs any cost of following him.