Two things determine a gift’s value to you: what it is and who gave it. It needs to either be a genuinely nice gift or come from a genuine person for the gift to be received and treasured.
A gift was given to Jesus that should have been rejected on both accounts. The gift came from a social outcast, likely a prostitute. And it seems she had used the money from her career to purchase some very rare, very expensive perfume. She probably purchased it with the hope that it would increase her clientele.
But instead it turned into a gift for Jesus. “She began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them” (Luke 7:38).
The onlookers that day protested. Both the gift and the giver were inappropriate.
But the same should be true of us. Who are we to give to God? And what do we have that God should want? Both the gift and the giver are insufficient.
But the woman who poured out her perfume on Jesus wasn’t promoting herself. She was celebrating Jesus. He had changed her identity from “sinful woman” to “forgiven child,” and as a result she reprioritized her inventory to honor him.
To this day, genuine giving to God is not a promotion of who we are or what we have. It’s a celebration. We have been given a new identity that moves us to reprioritize our inventory.