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Why This Waste?

Mark 14: 3-9

Our text presents a beautiful story in the life of Christ, but it seems to be a peculiar text
to use on Mother's Day.
However, after we have seen the meaning behind Jesus' words and have analyzed the disciples' attitude,
we will be able to understand the relationship of our text to the problems and potentials of modern motherhood.

We are concerned here with verse 4.
The disciples ask, "Why was this waste of the ointment made?"
They were referring to the alabaster boxful of ointment which the woman had poured on Jesus' head.
Not realizing the significance of her action, the devotion of her love or the attitude of Jesus,
the disciples seemed to be genuinely concerned about wastefulness.
The development of the story begins to give us a new insight into the whole concept of wastefulness.

One easily understood definition of waste would be that of "giving more than is necessary."

  • If someone is receiving more than he is considered to be worth, that is a waste of money.
  • If someone is receiving less than he is considered to be worth, that is a waste of time and talent. The disciples were emphasizing, "use," and "doing."
  • They completely neglected the question of whether or not the Lord was satisfied.
  • They were interested only in activity and were not especially concerned with what the activity itself might reflect.
    Sometimes, we are concerned only with activity and not with the Lord whom we are supposed to serve.
    If we are not careful, we may become so busy that Christ will find it necessary to suspend our service
    for a time to help us discover whether it is activity or Himself that holds us.
    In divine service, the principle of waste is the principle of power.
    It seems as though we are giving too much and getting nothing, and that is exactly the secret of pleasing God.
    Jesus was trying to help us see that people should come to Him and waste themselves on Him.

    Now, let us apply the disciple's attitude to that of our materialistic attitudes of today,
    and see how they relate to motherhood.
    Today's mothers are educated, active, wide awake women, who dress in the latest fashion,
    have stylish hairdos, and hold positions of responsibilities and trust in many different businesses
    and professions. The thing that seems to be waste becomes the most productive task a woman ever does
    when she begins to see it as something other than a person to keep her from achieving.
    Not speaking idealistically or romantically, but very realistically, what is mother in the home?

    Women who want to become involved in the medical profession need look no further than
    the children which God has given them.
    They have done so much more than the physician who saves lives; they have created life.
    They have sustained life by food, shelter, and love.
    Many times, mother has literally snatched her children from the jaws of death by quick thinking
    and instinctive action.
    Not only physically, but psychologically, mother is the world's greatest physician.
    Problems are solved, advice is given, hurts are healed, doubts are replaced with assurance,
    courage is inspired, and confidence is instilled.

    That is something special.
    Mothers are something special.
    Mother fills a spiritual and emotional life even as she nurtured a physical life for her child.
    The world's largest children's hospital is spread throughout the homes of the world, and the busiest
    and most successful positions are the mothers within those homes.
    Is this a waste?

    Mother is the world's most successful teacher.
    Think of all the things a child learns in his preschool years.
    Practically, all of his motor reflexes are trained by his mother.
    He does not go to public school to learn how to react; he goes their to react as he has
    already learned at home.
    Then, throughout his entire life, he continues to rely upon his home education.
    The years of experience never really erase from his mind the things that he has learned from mother.

    The mother who aspires for a great place in the teaching profession, should know that God has given
    her the choice years in which to teach and train her children.
    God has entrusted her with the holy responsibility of leading a tender young mind in the ways of the Lord.
    Is this a waste?

    Mother is the world's most important business executive.
    It may not seem to be so in the total number of dollars and projects handled, but the world's economy
    depends upon the economy of the individual home.
    As mothers handle their money and teach their children to handle money, so will the money
    of the world be handled.
    Also, the thrill of big business finance can be realized in family budgeting and planning,
    if mother does not lose her sense of perspective and romance.
    Efficiency experts are desperately needed in homes today.
    Is this a waste?

    Mother exerts the world's most powerful influence.
    Many women have a natural drive for greatness, and could be successful in almost any area of life,
    including politics, government, or business.
    They like to create and control things.
    There is nothing at all wrong with this personality trait, as long as it does not become abused or misused.

    In the home, mother discovers herself to literally be a "king-maker."
    It is an incredible complement from God that mothers are entrusted with the powerful influence
    that they wield over the minds of their children.
    For it is from the home, that young people go to college, and from that home that men go to factories and offices.
    Every child and every man enters today's work in the mood he received at home.
    Mothers are the true secretaries of state who write the treaties of men in the hearts of their children.
    Is this a waste?

    Mothers are the world's best example of religion.
    How marvelous to find some women committed completely to the work of the church, but how tragic to see mothers who do not understand that the first place for the application of their religion is at home.
    The home was created by God before the church.
    The home is a seedbed of gospel influence.
    The devil is not concerned about full churches if homes are empty of Christ.

    Someone has said, "An ounce of mother is worth a pound of clergy."
    The best language of religion emerges from the language of the home.
    The New Testament description of a Christian faith involved words, such as love, father, brothers
    and sisters in Christ, and the family of God.

    How refreshing to hear of a mother who had the right perspective of her religion and her home responsibilities.
    Over her kitchen sink hangs the little sign: "Divine services held here three times a day."

    At the close of one of his evangelistic campaigns, D. L. Moody was approached by an enthusiastic woman
    who insisted that God had called her to the preaching of the gospel.
    D. L. Moody replied that he thought that it was wonderful that she was able to discern God's will.
    Then, he asked her about her family and home.

    She replied that she had a husband and eleven children.
    Moody exclaimed, "Then, thank the dear Lord, Madam, for He has not only called you to preach,
    but He has already given you a congregation
    ."

    Our devoted mothers need not fear that their lives are wasted when spent for home and for God.
    Perhaps, the greatest service that God has ever given any soul is that which He has entrusted to our mothers.

    Are we appreciative of what our mothers have given up in the world in order to make a home for us?
    And if, she works out of necessity, and still has all the responsibilities of the home,
    how much more we should appreciate her?

    Mothers, are you willing to be wasted on your family for the sake of God and your children.
    "He that findeth his life shall lose it: and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it."
    (Matthew 10: 39)

    Sermon by Dr. Harold L. White
    Email Dr. White at hleewhite@aol.com