Mark 14:7 “The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me.”
 
     This event unfolds with a woman anointing Jesus’ head with very expensive perfume. Some around the table that Jesus was sitting at thought that this was an outrageous waste of resources. The perfume could have been sold and the money given to the poor. Why was the woman so wasteful to pour it on Jesus’ head? Jesus stuck up for her.

     From the outset it should be noted that Jesus never demanded that any perfume be poured over Him. His response to the woman’s love and adoration was gracious. His response to the people judging and ‘murmuring’ against her was to protect her; “Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.” (v. 6) and; “She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.” (v. 8) Matthew Henry writes; “Let us lovehim with all the heart, though it is common for zeal and affection to be misunderstood and blamed; and remember that charity to the poor will not excuse any from particular acts of piety to the Lord Jesus.”
 
     This scripture is all about attitude. The woman loved Jesus and in that love she didn’t care about cost. Jesus was very near the time when He would give His very life for all of us – the financially poor and the spiritually poor. Jesus knew what His sacrifice would cost Him. This woman’s love and selfless devotion to Jesus was a sure sign of His Presence in this woman’s life. Another commentator writes that Jesus’ response to the ‘critics’ consisted of a “gentle hint of His approaching departure, by One who knew the worth of His own presence.” Do we love Jesus with the same intensity?

     The ‘good works through self-righteousness’ crowd however always sees the expensive perfume first and Jesus second. Matthew Henry nailed this crowd and Judas in particular when he said; “Covetousness was Judas’ master lust, and that betrayed him to the sin of betraying his Master; the devil suited his temptation to that, and so conquered him.” When we see our own ways of solving the world’s problems and feeding the poor as more important than devoting ourselves to Jesus and His Word, we fall into a trap. Selfishness must be conquered by His Word working in us first. When we change the world will change. No one can change the world by trusting in their own strength and not being changed themselves first; “There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

     In a world filled with prideful people who love themselves first and foremost and worship their own strength, no matter how much ‘money’ is given to the poor – there will always be poor among us. In a world filled with the idolatry of self love, the poor cannot be nourished and many many people are made poor all the time. When Jesus says ‘the poor will always be with us’ I believe he is speaking about our world where He is not honoured and loved first and foremost. Such a world creates poverty every day. It is a world of ‘bread’ only with no nourishment for the spirit.  This is a world where the poor will always be with us.
 
     Jesus said; “‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.” (Matthew 4:4)
 
     Only His Word can soften our hearts and relieve our poverty?
 
     Praise the Lord.

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