Over-the-top, sold out, totally devoted love.
Beautiful. Lavish. Gut-wrenching Love.
I was struck by a display of this opulent kind of love this morning as I read John 12.
Mary and Martha were hosting a dinner party in honor of Jesus; a thankful tribute to the miracle he had performed in their family – the raising of their brother, Lazarus, from the dead. I totally get their gratitude; I’d be thankful too if Jesus resurrected one of my dead family members.
But Mary’s display of thankfulness is really remarkable…she pours a REALLY expensive jar of perfume over his feet and then wipes it with her hair. Really expensive. A year’s worth of wages… estimated about $25,000 or so by today’s standards. I mean, imagine one year of your salary gone in a matter of minutes. Maybe you make more than $25,000…well than, imagine that number. Next, imagine taking all that money and pouring it over Jesus’ feet as an act of thankfulness for his sacrifice on the cross for you. Think of it: the money you earned working day after day, meant to pay the bills, given to Jesus.
Definitely not a lukewarm, half-hearted kind of affection. This is the real deal.
Unlike Judas, one of the disciples (the betrayer), who saw her act of love and rebuked her for it. He declared the money spent on the perfume was wasted and should have been used to help the poor. Don’t be fooled by his righteous proclamation though, he was really all about the benjamins. He stole money from the disciples (his own tribe!) and he would later sell out Jesus for only $1000.
His heart wasn’t full of extravagant love for Jesus, it was full of conceit and greed, a love for money. He saw the extravagant act of love for Jesus as a waste.
A waste! How could loving Jesus ever be a waste?
He couldn’t see it. He was blind to what was really valuable. Here’s the truth:
The love of money blinds us to the worth of Jesus. That’s made clear in Matthew 6:22-24, “Your eye is a lamp that provides light for your body. When your eye is good, your whole body is filled with light. But when your eye is bad, your whole body is filled with darkness. And if the light you think you have is actually darkness, how deep the darkness is. No one can serve two masters. For you will hate one and love the other; you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”
In essence, if your heart is filled with extravagant love for money, you will walk in darkness. Blind.
If your heart is filled with extravagant love for Jesus, you will walk in light. Seeing and Believing.
Whatever you value, there your heart is. It’s either one or the other. You can’t love both.
Mary demonstrated an extravagant love when she poured out a gift so big it would take your breath away. She saw the worth of Jesus. She was completely and utterly devoted; giving all she had and then using her hair to wipe his feet. It’s a beautiful act of love and it got me thinking:
Where does my extravagance lie?
Is it with my money or is it with Jesus? Where do I lavish my time, talents and treasures?
Do I value my bank account or my savior?
I’ve shared this phrase before, but I’ve been called to live in reckless abandon for Jesus. Chasing him as hard as I can, with everything I am and everything I have. All for Jesus, poured out at his feet. Everyday. It’s a love born of an overwhelming thankfulness for his gift at the cross. A gift I don’t deserve and never could earn. A free gift that raised my spiritually dead soul and gave it eternal life. Reading John 12 this morning only strengthened my resolve to passionately pursue him. To live sold out. Radical. Like a woman who would pour out a year worth of wages on his feet.
I know I must look and sound crazy to some people. And that’s ok. I am in extravagant love with Jesus and I’m not even sorry about it.
Dear friends, let me ask you…where does your extravagance lie? What do you value?
Let it be Jesus. Let all that you have, all that he made you to be, serve as a extravagant act of thankfulness for his sacrificial love. It’s never wasted. Join me in reckless abandon. Let’s do this faith journey together! Let’s encourage each other and point each other to the one true God. The ONLY ONE WORTHY of our praise.
As always, I love hearing from you. Keep sending those messages and emails and I will keep getting on my knees. And if you feel lead, please share… please forward… please re-post. It’s humbling to ask, but I need your help to get the word out. Blessings!
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