We could conclude from the last few chapters of Psalms that all praise is noisy and boisterous. But worship can be expressed in quiet ways too. Few people think of today's passage as a description of praise, but the depth of Mary's love for the Savior required an expression beyond mere words.
Desiring to give Jesus something of value, Mary broke a bottle of perfume worth a year's wages (it was costly because the herb used to make the fragrance had to be transported through mountain passes from where it grew, around present-day India and Tibet). By breaking it, she held nothing in reserve and allowed the excess to fall onto the ground. The expense, the surprised stares of onlookers, and Judas' snide remark meant nothing to her, compared with the value of having a Savior.
The whole house filled with the scent of Mary's adoration. True praise permeates the atmosphere around us as well: we can sense when others are worshipping God, because our own soul is uplifted. Spending time with people who are surrendered to the Lord-who are praising Him through actions and service-lets us partake of their joy. Worshipping Him ourselves provides us with a full measure.
Believers express praise in numerous creative ways-singing, painting, taking a nature walk, or cleaning an elderly friend's home. When we want to convey our devotion beyond mere words, we are not limited with regard to the manner of expression. The Father is pleased to accept genuine praise of all kinds.
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