“She has done a beautiful thing to me,” Jesus said about the woman who had just poured very expensive perfume — worth more than a year’s wages — on His head. (You can read more of this story in the book of Matthew, chapter 14, verses 1 to 9).
Some of those who saw this incident in Bethany were indignant about the woman’s waste of money that could have been given to the poor. But, Jesus said to them, “Leave her alone . . . . She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her” (verse 9).
Jesus saw in the woman’s extravagant act of devotion a heart filled with gratitude and love for her Savior. And a sensitivity, perhaps a deep sadness, about the danger that beset this great compassionate Teacher that she had known.
As we commemorate Women’s Month this March, let this poignant encounter between Jesus and this woman remind us of one, just like us, who touched the heart of Jesus by her generous spirit and selfless sacrifice.
Like this woman’s perfume, there are those whose lives were a fragrant offering to the God they served with devotion. Mother Teresa shunned comfortable living to give food and hope to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta. Amy Carmichael spent her life protecting the vulnerable orphaned girls in India. Sarah Rebecca Parrish, the first female physician in the Philippines, used her medical expertise to show God’s love for the many sick women and malnourished babies she treated. These extraordinary women showed their love for Jesus through a life of wholehearted service to the needy.
Somewhere, in a place unfamiliar to many of us, there is a woman that does a beautiful thing to Jesus, through her daily routine –
. . . in a classroom cramped with school children sharing a worn-out textbook;
. . . in a garment factory with very little ventilation;
. . . in a quiet hospital room, caring for a dying patient;
. . . in one’s humble abode, breastfeeding her newborn;
. . . in a diner, or market stall, attending to customers’ needs
. . . in a foreign land, cleaning other people’s houses to send her children to school.
Somewhere, maybe right where you are, is a woman whose devotion to God touches your life in a special way, makes a lasting change in the community she serves, and reflects the love of Jesus in every beautiful thing she does. Today, say a prayer of thanks to God for this beautiful woman. And, perhaps, you can think of what beautiful thing you can do to her in return.
Yna Reyes is the Publications Director of OMF Literature. She has also written a book for Hiyas (OMF Lit’s imprint for children), entitled Ang Bagong Kaibigan ni Bing Butiki