Recently the entire East Coast was under a Severe Storm warning. A large system that brought copious amounts of rain, lightning, high winds, and the threat of tornadoes made its way across several states. As it approached North Carolina, all the weather outlets started posting warnings, maps, forecasts, projections, and color-coded resources that gave predictions about the strength of the storm and possible damage to one’s immediate area.
In my immediate area, the storm shifted, wobbled, and weakened to the point that the projections from 24 hours earlier were happily way off the mark. I say happily because that is how we should have received the change of course. But instead, many people took to social media to denounce and decry the efforts of meteorologists who were using their best science to keep people safe. They were complaining that the storm they had prepared for DIDN’T hit them.
Honestly, people will complain about EVERYTHING!
This well-known passage in the book of Mark tells a story of a woman who made a beautiful and fragrant offering to our Lord. It was just before the crucifixion, and Jesus received it as an anointing of his body.
Mark 14 (Common English Bible)
It was two days before Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread. The chief priests and legal experts through cunning tricks were searching for a way to arrest Jesus and kill him. 2 But they agreed that it shouldn’t happen during the festival; otherwise, there would be an uproar among the people.
3 Jesus was at Bethany visiting the house of Simon, who had a skin disease. During dinner, a woman came in with a vase made of alabaster and containing very expensive perfume of pure nard. She broke open the vase and poured the perfume on his head. 4 Some grew angry. They said to each other, “Why waste the perfume? 5 This perfume could have been sold for almost a year’s pay and the money given to the poor.” And they scolded her.
The gift was very expensive. Contained in a jar of alabaster, the perfume was so pungent that its aroma filled the entire house. It was pure nard, and it was hers to give.
And of course, someone complained.
6 Jesus said, “Leave her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me. 7 You always have the poor with you; and whenever you want, you can do something good for them. But you won’t always have me. 8 She has done what she could. She has anointed my body ahead of time for burial. 9 I tell you the truth that, wherever in the whole world the good news is announced, what she’s done will also be told in memory of her.”
I love Jesus’s response. Leave her alone! SHE has done a good thing.
The take-away here is that if you find yourself complaining, get up and go do a good thing. Complaining doesn’t bring anything but misery to those around you. Going out and doing something in the name of Jesus is the best antidote to your complaints.
Find someone today who needs to breathe in the blessing of your generosity. And when you give as this woman gave, the good news is announced everywhere, leaving behind only its sweet fragrance.