Your Way is Stupid
Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor? John 12:5
Over the years, we’ve spent countless hours on Rook, our family card game. Though we all know how to play, we don’t all hold our cards the same. Some of us hold our cards counting from left to right (like all Godly people), and some of us hold them in the opposite direction. This has led to numerous arguments on the proper way to hold one’s cards. Truthfully, there is no right or wrong way, but I feel my way is the best way, and when we get to arguing about it, I act as though God himself told me how to hold my cards.
This is tempting for us as Christians. We all have personal preferences. We all have ways in which we think the world works best and we desperately want others to do it our way. Often, we feel so strongly about this, that we actually attempt to hijack God’s will, applying it to our preferences. Cleanliness is next to Godliness, says the person who likes to world to be tidy, but this isn’t in the Bible. It’s just the way some people really want the world to be.
In today’s passage, Judas did this. When Mary anointed Jesus’ feet with a costly perfume, Judas objected. He had his own motives, but he tried to pass his own preference off as a moral issue. What a waste. We should have spent that money on the poor (my paraphrase). His own will thwarted, Judas attempted to commandeer God’s will to his personal cause.
I do this. When I see people who speak differently, dress strangely, or have unfamiliar cultural practices, I don’t naturally see the beautiful diversity of God’s creation. It’s my nature to see people who are doing it wrong. I’m tempted to think that Jesus is a stoic, conservative, Caucasian, midwestern, evangelical, who would never get a tattoo or wear his baseball cap to church.
I’m not saying we shouldn’t stand up for what we believe in. There is right and wrong. God gives us plenty of things we can and should stand up for. What is deplorable, is when we try to make God follow our will, insisting that our preferences are his preferences. True discipleship means that we daily abandon our way to follow God, not the other way around.