Care + Compassion

Person Holding Heart Shaped Cut Out
Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”  (John 12:1-8)
Judas!  A scoundrel.  A thief!  A traitor!  Nobody names their child “Judas.”  And for good reason.

Mary anoints Jesus with a very expensive perfume and uses a goodly amount to do so.  As mentioned in our devotion on Monday, Mary’s actions were a reflection of her heart.

But Judas steps in.  He scolds Mary for her extravagance.  Moving into a conversation that Judas thinks might be up Jesus’ compassion alley, he interrupts the beautiful moment and says, Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?  Ah, Judas is all heart.  Unfortunately, his heart was all for himself.  Using the guise of caring for the poor, Judas would have slipped his hand into the money bag and provided a little extra spending money for himself.

How easy it is for us to point a finger at Judas.  Selfish Judas.  Ignorant Judas.  Critical Judas.  We want to tell him to stop and take a good look in the mirror as he criticizes others.

Perhaps we should stop.  Maybe we should take a good look in the mirror.  At times we can be Judas.  It is easy for us to criticize others for a number of reasons.  When others succeed, we criticize out of jealousy.  When others are recognized for their contributions to a cause we accuse them of volunteering for all the wrong reasons.  When others come up with a good idea, we want to shoot it down simply because it wasn’t ours. 

Don’t you wish Judas would have spoken up with words of appreciation for Mary’s wonderful witness?  Don’t you wish Judas would have volunteered to go out and buy more perfume for the rest of the dinner guests to anoint Jesus?

We can make a positive impact by giving a word of thanks to those who provide service.  We can make a world of difference by speaking words of appreciation to others.  President Reagan had a plaque on his desk in the Oval Office which read, “There is no limit to what a man can do or where he can go if he doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”  How wonderful the world would be if we all lived by this truth.
Prayer: Blessed Jesus, forgive my arrogance and ignorance.  Give me joy in working with others and give me Your Spirit that I may impact their lives with words of care and compassion.  I pray this in Your name, O Jesus.  Amen.

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