Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly. “Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. Mark 14:4-6
Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:23-24
You and I can take solace in the fact that we would never do what “some of those present” did to poor Mary of Bethany in Mark 14. You and I are way, way too spiritual to ever do such a thing! Truly, all Mary was doing was loving Jesus with extravagance…pouring her very heart out with every ounce of perfume which left that container. She was oblivious to the awkwardness or to the social or political “incorrectness” of her actions…her heart was 100% for Jesus in that moment. That, my friends, was the very picture of “true worship”.
So, to scoff or to rebuke her for it…well, wow, that is just embarrassing. I’m just glad you and I would never do that.
There are actually a few other places I can think of in the Bible where people scoffed at or made fun of someone’s worship of God. None of those stories ended well for those scoffers. It seems that God really does frown on such scoffers. Worship, after all, is not for their benefit at all; rather, it is aimed only at God. What business is it of others to “judge” someone’s worship as being “unfit” or “undignified” or “uninspired”? Only God can make that judgment…because only God can read a man’s heart.
Oh, sure I may snicker and snort a time or two at the lady up in the front of the worship service waving her hands in the air, or at the old guy standing in the back with his hands in his pockets and staring down at the floor. I suppose I may make a little fun of the decision to sing the same chorus over and over and over and over and over again, or I may chortle a bit at that last hymn we sang, which sounded like something out of a funeral…in the deep woods of Kentucky…in 1940. Sure I have probably commented now and again on the disrespectful, sloppy attire of kids in worship these days, or of the HUGE waste of money on big, fancy buildings when we could be feeding hungry people with that money. I am certain I have walked away from certain pastors’ sermons and from certain teachers’ lessons thinking to myself, “Wow, he/she is a really horrible communicator…God deserves better than that.”
I’m sure you and I have done all those things.
But that’s not the same as scoffing at someone’s worship. Right? I mean, that is different. Right?