While Mark does not disclose the name of the woman who anointed Jesus with a very expensive oil, in John 12:2-3, John tells us the woman’s name is Mary of Bethany.  Everything about this flask of oil is expensive. An alabaster flask was a long-necked perfume vase that was considered a luxury item. In verse 5 of Mark 14, we learn that this bottle of oil could have been sold for 300 denarii, which equaled about a year’s wages. Most likely, for Mary, this alabaster flask was her most costly, valuable, and prized possession. So when she broke it and poured it over Jesus, she was giving the best she had. If you were giving your best to Jesus, what would it be?

How witnesses reacted to Mary giving the best she had

Mary didn’t just break open any bottle of oil to anoint Jesus. She broke the best of what she had – her most expensive possession. Some of the people that witnessed her heartfelt act of worship grumbled and complain about the waste. Perhaps it was out of personal guilt because they were not willing to give out of their best. Maybe it was out of jealousy that Mary had such a valuable possession and they felt she had wasted it. They understood she was giving the best she had, but they didn’t understand why such an act was her way of worshiping Jesus.

But Jesus commended Mary. In verse 6, Jesus replied to their grumbling and said, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.” Then in verses 8-9, He told them, “She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” Jesus always know when we are giving the best of what we have and He also knows the motivation for it. Mary wasn’t seeking approval from the people, but the approval of her Savior. She was giving the best she had from a heart of worship.

A poor woman who gave the best

Mary’s act was similar to the poor woman at the temple who gave two mites in the temple offering. The widow’s offering had very little value, but she was still giving the best she had. Mary’s offering was very expensive, the poor woman’s was worth very little. Yet, Jesus commended both equally, because both women gave the best of what they had to offer and they were giving the best out of their love for God and a heart of worship. What we offer to Jesus isn’t about the value of the item, but whether if it is the best of what we have to give Him and our motivation behind why we are giving it to Him.

A redeemed woman who gave the best

Over in Luke’s gospel, chapter 7, Luke tells about a woman who washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair. She too was giving the best of what she had — a heart of love for the One who redeemed her. When Simon, a Pharisee, complained, Jesus told a parable:

There was a certain creditor who had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing with which to repay, he freely forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore, which of them will love him more?”

Simon answered and said, “I suppose the one whom he forgave more.”

And He said to him, “You have rightly judged.” Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house and you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.”

See the full story in Luke 7:36-50

Being willing to give the best to Jesus

The more we realize the depth of our sin and the price Jesus paid, the more willing we are to give to Him from our best. When you are called to give, do you give of your best? Do you grumble or complain about the “waste” when others give something that is very costly? When you give of your time, talent, and money do you give just enough to feel like you met a requirement – or do you give your best – or even your all like the poor widow?

God, thank you for the many blessing you bestow on us every day. Thank you for your grace and forgiveness. Lord, when we give, may our hearts be full of gratitude and love for You out of thanksgiving for the price you paid for our sin and may we give our very best. 


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Now you can enhance your Bible Reading with the Verse Mapping Template

Our Verse Mapping download is FREE and includes 6 pages: 3 pages of instructions for using the template and the 2 page template, plus the cover page. If you’re looking to go deeper into God’s Word, learn more about God and develop a stronger spiritual life, Verse Mapping will help you dig into the scriptures. As you apply God’s Word to your life, you will develop a more intimate knowledge and relationship with God.

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Download our Free 2021 Bible Memory Verse Plan

We’ve put together 52 memory verses for you to hide God’s Word in your heart! You can download the full document for free and then print a new verse each week and as many copies as you’d like. Each verse prints four times on a page so that you can then cut them into index size cards and place them in prominent places where you will see them frequently throughout the day to help you remember to memorize them. Just because you visited our site, they’re yours for free! Download today.

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With just 30-40 minutes per day, you can read the entire Bible in one year. The One-Year Bible Reading Plan consists of both Old Testament and New Testament readings for each day of the year. The Bible is God’s personal Word to you. What is He saying to you today? Open your Bible and find out!

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The Self-Care Wheel provides ideas for practicing self-care in six dimensions of yourself: Spiritual, Physical, Emotional, Intellectual, Sensory, and Social. NOTE: You will need 11X14 paper to print the wheel.

Want to know more about self-care? Our Self-Care blog series targets people who serve in any ministry position and takes a Biblical approach to self-care.

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Fight on my Knees

We all fight battles–relationship, financial, cancer, COVID, professional, educational and more. But no matter what the battle, it belongs to God. So, fight on your knees with your hands lifted high. (Based on the song, Battle Belongs, by Phil Wickham.)

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Graduating Seniors

For all the seniors celebrating graduation in a few months. Includes Jeremiah 29:11. If you have a senior graduating, this design makes a great gift.

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We’ve added a new canvas print to the Teespring Store.

God instructed the Israelite priests to pray the prayer of blessing every day over the people. The prayer is found in Numbers 6:24-26. Hang the canvass in your home or carry the mug, tote bag, or water bottle and let the prayer of blessing impact all those who you meet throughout the day.

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God, Love and Marshmallow Wars by Julia M. Bruce

What’s Inside God, Love and Marshmallow Wars?

God, Love and Marshmallow Wars is a book that includes 365 daily activities and takes you on a guided journey through Biblical principles about Godly marriage that you can then apply to your marriage, as well as helping you talk through concepts that can help you develop a solid relationship. Inside you will find simple, quick activities that include:

  • Scripture to memorize and meditate on.
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Available in hardback, paperback and ebook from Westbow Press Bookstore, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble. Click the icons below to purchase from your preferred bookstore. Now also available at WalMart online.

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