Perfume - Symbol of Worship

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"When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.”
- Matthew 26:12 [NIV]
Passage: Mathew 26:6-13


Worship is a waste. Worship is impractical. Worship distracts from action in the world.

Do these phrases seem irreverent, unthoughtful, or dismissive of the beautiful and complex action of worship? They surely are. Yet, just like the disciples’ rebuke of the woman who poured out worship through perfume (“Why this waste?”), our attitude toward worship is seldom different. We cling to the precious things in our lives — work, relationships, goals — as things to be grasped for future use and not to be poured out, ‘wasted’, as worship upon Jesus Christ. Are the valuable things in our lives contrary to worship? Surely not! Such things can function exactly like the disciples urged, “to be sold and given to the poor,” and used well for Christ’s kingdom. However, we must be willing to give up what is well-meaning and clung to for present devotion to Jesus. For truly this is what the woman did, “when she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial.” Unlike those around her, she had a true understanding of the true use and worth of her costly perfume in light of the person and mission of Jesus. As Jesus looked to His death and resurrection, the woman understood that ‘wasteful’ worship was what was desirable.


Reflecting on this woman’s memory, do we consider our valuable things as truly for worship of the person of Jesus in glorification of His mission? My journey as a theology student has been one of wrestling with this principle. Often my education and ministry became as a vial of perfume to be hoarded for later use. This is what happens when a theology paper becomes purely an exercise of skills or a paper on a Bible passage becomes merely a study rather than worship. I may store up education for future ministry, but my current love for the triune God wanes. I am learning to begin and end my periods of study with thankful, genuine prayer. Consider as you begin your freshman year how to make your skills, study, goals, friendships, and all the valuable things you will gain as a means of present worship and praise for the Lord, rather than hoarding them for later use.

Class of 2025