What Can We Learn From Wasted Perfume?

Many Churches talk about Stewardship. Few really invest in it. what can your church learn from leading churches?
Central Christian Church in Phoenix Arizona, loves stewardship so much that, 17 years ago, they hired Dave Briggs to lead their efforts as Stewardship Pastor. Dave has walked with thousands of givers across the church’s several campuses. Over this series of posts, Dave answers questions about what God has taught him about helping a church grow in stewardship and generosity.

An Attitude of Generosity

Dave has found that people often use the terms Stewardship and Generosity interchangeably, yet both of these terms carry a different meaning.

  • Stewardship is simply the act of being a steward. In biblical times a steward was a respected person of high integrity entrusted with his master’s possessions. He was expected to manage the possessions following the master’s wishes. Since God created and still owns all we have, stewardship is recognizing God is the owner, and we are His managers. As managers, we are responsible for using God’s possessions to please Him.”
  • “Giving is an act, and generosity is an attitude. Generosity involves a willingness to sacrifice for the benefit of others personally. Giving is merely the act of abandoning something of value. Giving can be done without being generous (the Pharisees are an example), but you cannot be generous and not give.” 

Dave highlights Mary in the book of Mark as someone who carries an attitude of generosity. In this story, we find that an attitude of generosity has a direct impact on your relationship with God. 

Mark 14:3-6 (NIV)

“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

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 harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me.”

  • “We live in a world of abundant causes to support. And yet, the point of stewardship isn’t about causes – good as they may be. Mary emerges with a year’s wages worth of precious perfume and pours it on Jesus. The Bible says some of the disciples grumbled, imagining all it could have done for the poor. But Jesus wanted to focus their attention on the heart attitude of the giver. Mary showed her deep love for Jesus by how she utilized her resources. The disciples missed the point. How easy it is for us, to miss the point that our relationship to money impacts our relationship to God.” 

“When we make God our highest priority, and we honor Him, it releases a spirit of love, which triggers acts of generosity.”



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