Simon and Leprosy

In Matthew 26, we learn of Jesus’ visit to the home of Simon the leper. As a leper, Simon had lived a harsh life. Likely, he lived outside the village in a dark, musty cave, isolated from society. His friends of his youth had abandoned socializing with him, though most had been kind and gave him food and money when he was in need.

But now he was healed. Jesus had restored him; physically he was well as socially. Once again, Simon was able to mingle with the crowds, shop in the market, sit with the men at the city gates and discuss the affairs of the day.

We can imagine that Jesus had healed other lepers who Simon had sequestered himself with and they were all excited, filled with joy, to have a blessed, normal life again. Oh, the disgrace, the pain of being an outcast, though no longer their reality, it was still a strong memory they revisited daily.

The Woman and the Alabaster Jar

As the disciples dined with Simon and likely a few of his friends, a woman came into the home. She was carrying an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment. As Jesus sat at the table, she poured it on His head. In those days, to anoint someone with oil was a common practice for landmark anniversaries and birthdays, religious festivals and other very special celebrations.

But when the disciples and other guests saw it, they remembered their former life. There were still many others, their friends, who were suffering, poor, outcast, struggling to survive. In their minds they could only think of the value of this oil and it’s being wasted. So they became indignant toward this woman thinking, “Why doesn’t she put the monetary worth of this oil to a better use?” And they looked down on her.

Surely, they each thought, Jesus will stop her from this waste. Clearly, their focus was on the money. Finally, Simon could contain it no longer and asked what everyone was thinking, “Why this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor!”

But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial.”

Our Focus and Jesus

In B4T, we have 2 bottom lines: bearing fruit financially AND bearing fruit for God’s Kingdom. If we succeed at one, and fail at the other, we fail at both. None of us would be working overseas if not for Jesus.

These are very challenging times. And it’s during a crisis it is easy to lose focus. In the midst of our financial uncertainties, let’s remind ourselves that Jesus is Jehovah Jireh—OUR PROVIDER. Keep doing beautiful things for Jesus.

Reminder: If your B4T business is in financial need, remember OPEN has funds available to help. Check the website for the OPEN Network.



PATRICK LAI and his family have worked in SE Asia for over 37 years. His experience in doing business with Jesus has brought him to understand the meaning of work and worship in the marketplace. He started 14 businesses in four countries, six of which are still operating. Patrick and his wife, May, mentor and coach businesspeople working where there are few or no Christians. Check out Patrick’s latest book, Workship, now available in paperback and e-book.

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