Costly devotion

Jesus brought Mary’s brother Lazarus back to life. Not only did he restore a heartbeat, but he restored hope, joy and the certainty of eternal life.

At a dinner in Jesus’ honour, Mary wanted to show her gratitude. She “took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair” (John 12:3).

We come to appreciate the significance of what Mary did when we discover the value of that perfume. It would have been imported from northern India and was equivalent in value to a year’s wages for a labourer. In my country that equals about $30,000! 

The people who witnessed her act of devotion would have been shocked at her extravagance.

But THAT’s how thankful she was for Jesus and what he had done for her.

Others criticized her by saying it could have been used to help the poor. But Jesus defended her.

A note in one of my study Bibles asks: “How can you imitate Mary’s costly devotion?”*

When our devotion to God is lukewarm (or non-existent) or when we are haphazard in the ways we use our time, attention or energy for God-honouring things, that is a symptom of not truly trusting who God is or what he has done for us. 

This isn’t a guilt trip. It’s a reality check.

As you go about your day, reflect on all the amazing things God has done throughout human history and in your own life. Then consider how you can imitate Mary’s costly devotion.


–* The Reformation Heritage KJV Study Bible, Joel Beeke, ed. (Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, 2014), 1535.

–Do you listen to The Up Devotional as a podcast? Why not leave a review on your preferred podcasting app? It helps spread the word!

–Sermon on John 12:1-11. “Costly, whole-hearted devotion.” October 30, 2022. Click here to watch or listen.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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