Jesus Wants You to Waste Your Life

Jesus Wants You to Waste Your Life

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 (John 12:3).

Judas simply could not fathom Mary’s ridiculous decision.

During dinner she had just dumped all that rare perfume on Jesus’ feet! Almost a year’s wages now puddled on the dirty floor. Completely wasted!

“Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?”

How noble. But Judas wasn’t concerned for the poor. “He said this not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief and being in charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:6). Judas was concerned for Judas.

Both Mary and Judas had hedonistic motives. Neither was driven by stoic duty. Both pursued the treasure they believed would make them happy. To Mary, Jesus was the priceless Pearl (Matthew 13:45). She wanted that Pearl more than anything. To Judas, thirty pieces of silver was a fair price for the Pearl.

Judas’s sin wasn’t that he wanted happiness. His sin was believing that having money would make him happier than having Christ.

O Judas, the tragedy of your value miscalculation! The Pearl worth more than the entire universe sat in front of you and all you could see were perfume puddles. You grieved a year’s wages while squandering infinite, eternal treasure!

Jesus leads all his disciples to watershed moments like Mary’s and Judas’. They are designed to make us count this cost: “Whoever loves his life loses it. And whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life” (John 12:25). These moments force us choose what we really believe is gain. And the choices we make reveal whether we value the Pearl or puddles. 

If we choose the Pearl, we hear in Judas the world’s appraisal of us. They watch as time, intellects, money, youth, financial futures, and vocations are poured out on Jesus’ feet. They watch them puddle on the floors of churches, mission fields, orphanages, and homes where children are raised and careers are lost. And what they see is foolish waste. Do not expect their respect.

Jesus wants you to waste your life like Mary wasted her perfume. For it is no true waste. It is true worship. A poured out life of love for Jesus that counts worldly gain as loss displays how precious he really is. It preaches to a bewildered, disdainful world that Christ is gain and the real waste is gaining the world’s perfumes and losing one’s soul in the process (Matthew 16:26).

So, in what way are you wasting your life today?

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Jon Bloom (@Bloom_Jon) is the author of Not by Sight: A Fresh Look at Old Stories of Walking by Faith and serves as the President of Desiring God, which he and John Piper launched together in 1994. He lives in the Twin Cities with his wife, Pam, their five children, and one naughty dog.