Recession-proof Christian Life
6/15/10 at 06:06 PM 0 Comments

Would Christ have been a poor business person?

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To what extent do our business practices and personal ethics align with Christ's example especially in the area of giving? Consider for illustration the commendation of the woman who broke the alabaster box of very precious oil and poured "wastefully" on Him.

Mark 14[3] And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head. [4] And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made? [5] For it m

ight have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her. [6] And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on me.

The admired sharp dealer (in this case perhaps Judas) cannot miss an opportunity and is quick to see the cost-benefit analysis and also even the non-quantifiable aspects. Many businesses have given very generously like Simon, the leper who financed this meal and the accommodations...but were not commended by Jesus. Others have simply come to their local church or fit in any scenario to "eat"... to seek some turnaround idea or gem of advise that will unlock a door or just soothe a legitimate and often spiritual hunger... again these were not commended. Christ does not commend even the disciples (at this time) - Judas , Peter and the rest who appeared to have left their businesses ...I dare say with an eye to return if things get tough...not having burnt the bridges behind them.

Many in this passage have given but only this disliked woman is commended by Christ. Do you think Christ will commend your business savvy? Put in another way..."Would you have seen the Spirit of Christ in action and say "what a waste" ...So and so or ABC PLC would have been a great Industrialist/multinational...or would have contributed so much as a multi-billionaire to so and so charity...if only...what a waste..."

It is now de rigueur for all businesses to want to be seen as good givers to society...but ponder at the type of giving called a "good work" by Jesus in the story...

Many (unlike this woman) came to eat, some gave that which cost them much but this woman gave that which was very precious. Examples in the Bible of givers who gave the very precious include Abraham, David, Paul and of course Jesus Himself who gave His life. Can I truly say I or my business is truly pouring out the very precious or making costly contributions or just giving crumbs? Even the disciples were filled with indignation at this type of giving? Has your giving been so "wastefully excessive" to cause annoyance amongst peers and even brethren?

When she gave ...she broke the box suggesting - no strings attached. It was an irretrievable gift with no means of controlling or managing how it flows ( I imagine a lot of the oil spilled on the ground to the dismay of onlookers) Are you so careful in giving that the Holy Spirit has been silenced. The bridge behind her was burnt - no going back as feedback gets nasty.

She gave for an unseen need- the perfume was required to be on Christ as He went through cruel torture to the cross and the grave? But others like Simon the Leper - it appears - gave for needs they could see and appreciate i.e. recreation and a meal for Jesus and others. The other disciples fled after the crucifixion suggesting they gave their time and all because they saw a potential hero ... and wouldn't follow an apparent loser. But this woman's giving was seen as a waste as no one understood what it was for. The value of her giving was unknown perhaps even to her. Great givers like William Wilberforce who gave much to fight the Slave Trade - Mary Slessor, (see picture) a Scottish missionary who went to live among the Efik people in Calabar in present day Nigeria where she successfully fought against the killing of twins at infancy - or John Wesley etc all gave for future generations. They did not see how great a contribution they were making to the future needs of society at the time of giving though they knew they were doing some good.

"Indeed ministers attacked John Wesley in sermons and in print, and at times mobs attacked him. Wesley and his followers continued to work among the neglected and needy. They were denounced as promulgators of strange doctrines, formenters of religious disturbances; as blind fanatics, leading people astray, claiming miraculous gifts, attacking the clergy, and trying to re-establish Catholicism..." Wikipedia...

This woman in the text did not appear to be prodded by a great sermon on giving nor moved by pictures of hungry children. I believe the Spirit of God guided her to indeed He does for all activities that please God. Most great givers commended by Christ would perhaps feel stupid, used or perhaps overdoing it at the time. Future generations remember them - not because they gave but their most precious assets (in many cases their youth and the prime of their lives) seem to have been squandered for something others did not see as necessary in their time.

Jesus said " leave her alone"... and alone she must have walked out of the room of murmuring onlookers - an outcast to them - but greatly commended by the King of kings - the greatest giver of all time.

Our most precious things may have monetary value and may not. For me it could be my rights and self-confidence...for others a cherished culture or need for recognition or approval ...these are our richest gains waiting to be counted as loss. Lord Jesus...we are no more in times of David, Wilberforce, Slessor or Wesley but God help me to give as I should ... to give my precious things to the needs not always appreciated now ... but always out of love as led by your Holy Spirit.

God bless you.

(Originally published in


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