In John 12, there's a very interesting passage where Mary pours out expensive ointment on Jesus' feet. One of the disciples chides her, arguing that the money could have been better used for the relief of the poor. What Jesus says in response would be outrageous on the lips of anyone else – "leave her alone; the poor you will always have, but you will not always have me." In effect, “before you care even for the poor, you must direct your highest devotion to me." This should take our breath away. No wonder pious Jews wanted to kill Jesus. Jesus is claiming nothing less than our ultimate allegiance and affections. And so it is with the mission of the church. Everything we do as a church must first flow out of and center on what Christ has done for us on the cross, and then, only secondarily, out of reverence for Jesus, do we love the poor and engage in ministry.