In the story of the woman anointing Jesus we get Jesus teaching his disciples both how to give and receive generously.
First, when Jesus says “For you will always have the poor with you.” He is alluding to Deuteronomy 15 - specifically the verses where God commands the people how to give generously:
7 If there is among you anyone in need, a member of your community in any of your towns within the land that the Lord your God is giving you, do not be hard-hearted or tight-fisted towards your needy neighbour.8You should rather open your hand, willingly lending enough to meet the need, whatever it may be. 9Be careful that you do not entertain a mean thought, thinking, ‘The seventh year, the year of remission, is near’, and therefore view your needy neighbour with hostility and give nothing; your neighbour might cry to the Lord against you, and you would incur guilt. 10Give liberally and be ungrudging when you do so, for on this account the Lord your God will bless you in all your work and in all that you undertake. 11Since there will never cease to be some in need on the earth, I therefore command you, ‘Open your hand to the poor and needy neighbour in your land.’
When Jesus says, “For the poor will always be with you” he is using one line to invoke the entire teaching. It is like if I say, “she was a Good Samaritan”. If you know the parable of the Good Samaritan then you know what I mean. Through didactic teaching Jesus is articulating how to be a generous giver.
But like I said, it really is just as important to be able to give as it is to receive. And Jesus was a generous receiver.
Jesus does not turn the gift away. He does not say to the woman, “Hey, I am the Son of God, I don’t need anything.” or “You shouldn’t have. I did not get you anything.”
Jesus recognizes that this woman went out of her way, used her resources, in order to give him a gift to say, “I was thinking about you and I wanted to give this to you and say I love you.”
It is humbling when someone looks you in the eyes and shows you that they love you.
Because it is just as important to be able to give as it is to receive.