“You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; therefore God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness beyond your companions.”
Doing good things is meant to bring us gladness. We often think of good and righteous acts as a way to earn God’s favor, and passages like this seem to support the idea that that’s how it works. Yet, our faith teaches that we can’t earn God’s favor. Instead, it’s always given a gift. So, what does this type of passage mean?
I think it means that when we make it a priority to care for the poor, visit the sick, and treat others kindly, our “reward” is a deep sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and happiness. Once again, this isn’t a normal kind of “anointing” that might bring pride and honor. It’s a different kind of anointing, and a more rich kind of gladness. As we continue our Lenten journey, may we seek out the gladness that comes from acts of gratitude and grace.