When Waste Is Not Waste

Posted on May 20, 2020 by Catey Stover in Victory Call

…a woman came having an alabaster flask of very costly oil of spikenard. Then she broke the flask and poured it on His head. But there were some who were indignant among themselves, and said, “Why was this fragrant oil wasted? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.” And they criticized her sharply.  But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a good work for Me.” (Mark 14:3-6)


The heart of the disciples is on display by their reaction to the outpouring of the very costly oil.  It came down to the financial worth of the ointment.  They viewed the ointment as having greater value than the value of the action of the woman, identified as Mary in John 12:3.

The act of Mary to break an alabaster flask to pour out a very costly oil was seen, on a human level, as a waste of something of great value.  But there is a subtle comparison going on.  The disciples viewed the greater worth as the financial value of the spikenard.  It only seems to be wasteful when what is spent is considered to be of greater value than what is to be gained.  The disciples valued the financial worth of the oil of spikenard more than they valued Mary’s love and anointing of the Lord.

What Mary valued more was not the financial value of the expensive ointment, but rather her relationship with Jesus and the desire to express her love and devotion to Him.  Jesus said that She has done a good work for Me (v. 6) and She has come beforehand to anoint My body for burial” (v. 8).

When we give something we value (money, time, etc.) for something we value more (what God values), then waste is not waste.

Waste is not waste when we love, when we encourage, when we forgive, when we are gracious and generous.

Waste is not waste when we value most what God values.

Written By Diane Hunt: Diane Hunt serves on the board of America’s Keswick and provides ministry support from her home in North Carolina. She is also a biblical counselor and women’s event speaker. For more information about having Diane speak at your next event please contact her at dhunt@americaskeswick.org.

Think About This:When wealth is lost, nothing is lost; when health is lost, something is lost; when character is lost, all is lost.” – Billy Graham

The Daily Bible Reading: Psalms 28-32| You can download our 2020 Daily Bible Reading Plan by clicking here. 

This Week’s Verse to Memorize:  “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 [c]Because narrow is the gate and [d]difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. –Matthew 7:13-14

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the doctrinal and theological views held by America’s Keswick.

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