When I Need to Mind My Own Business
Matthew 26:7-9 A woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor.”
I must confess, I do not like emotional displays of worship. When those around me in church raise their hands, I grow a little uncomfortable. If someone does an interpretive dance, I want to crawl under my chair. I am just so uptight and conservative that any outward display of passion for God makes me squirm.
I think that is why I have never liked this passage. In the story, Jesus and his disciples were sitting around when a woman came and poured an expensive ointment on him. Perhaps this was a normal cultural event, but the disciples were repelled by it. They found it excessive and wasteful. In holy indignation, they suggested that it should have been sold, with the proceeds going to the poor.
Jesus did not join their criticism of the woman. Instead, He corrected the disciples, insisting that she had done a beautiful thing for him. The fact that I am writing about her today fulfills Jesus’ prophecy that she would be remembered for her act of worship.
I often find myself being critical of others in church. Perhaps I am alone in this, but I imagine church to be one of the most critical places on earth. As a Christian, I have a righteous conviction of my rightness. Therefore, I feel that anyone doing church different than me is not just contradicting my ideal, they are contradicting God.
We just cannot stand when someone does not do it our way. We are passionate about our faith, which is good, but we often confuse God’s will with our will. When others do not do as we do, we get irritated and hyper-critical. Why can’t you just do it right? Why can’t you do it my way? Our criticism of others is not about a concern for God. It is about a focus on self.
Jesus bids me to follow him and not to concern myself with how others follow him. In focusing on another’s behavior, I lose sight of God and I become critical. This critical nature is completely contrary to worship and focus on God. I cannot keep my eyes on God when I am consumed with judgement of those around me. To this, Jesus says, Mind your own worship. Keep your eyes on me and concern yourself with me alone.
If I find myself concerned with judging others on a Sunday morning, I have completely missed the point of church. In my criticism, I am not God-focused. I am me focused. If I want to follow God, I need to abandon me and focus on him.
The Seeds of the Spirit is a daily blog based on a walk through the New Testament. Written from the perspective of my own addiction, it explores the common defects of our flesh nature and the solution, our spirit life. If you find it helpful, sign up for the blog as a daily email, tell your friends and like/share it on Facebook.