Christianity isn't built on principles, a philosophy or practices, although it contains those elements. The uniqueness of Christianity rests on the cross and Christ’s triumph over death. We need to be reminded of this lest we lapse into believing faith in Jesus is just another self-improvement program. Lest we are lulled into a lethargic view of believing Jesus. To be sure, it's much more. This week we take a break from our journey though the Book of Acts to contemplate on Jesus’ death, resurrection and the events leading to it. If these Devos challenge you, speak to you or stir you, feel free to repost them or pass them on to others.
". . . anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped His feet with her hair; . . ." John 12:3
Jesus loves people. Here in John’s gospel, we are told Jesus was attending a dinner whose guests were not theologians, or teachers of the sacred text, they were every day, ordinary people who had encountered Jesus. The dinner was at the home of Simon, a man cured of leprosy by Jesus. Also attending that night was Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus.
Mary breaks open a costly alabaster jar of perfume and wipes the feet of Jesus with it. This was an over-the-top, unselfish act of lavishing love. The perfume was from a rare plant which only grows in India and was worth thousands of dollars. The alabaster jar meant it was of enormous value. The fact that it was broken meant that it would never be used again. This was selfless, lavish love, fully spent on the presence of Jesus.
There are vital elements to this lavish love of Jesus. Take a moment to consider each element prayerfully to learn to live a life of lavish love.
Lavish love stoops.
Picture Jesus reclining at a low table, He props Himself up on His elbow. For Mary to get close to Jesus, she would kneel down and hunch over and round her shoulders. It was Mary's love for Jesus which caused her to set her pride aside. Stooping shows we love Jesus more than we love ourselves.
Lavish love surrenders.
Mary's perfume was the equivalent to a year’s salary. She gave it all for Jesus’ sake. Her example calls attention to our willingness to make sacrifices for Jesus’ sake. Lavish loves spills over into our time, talent and treasure.
Lavish love saturates.
Mary's love for Jesus was given without thought. Never did she ask, "What do I get out of this?" but only, "What can I give to Him?" Our lives for Jesus must be poured out without measure. In true worship, there's nothing to accomplish. Giving ourselves is not productive, we must relinquish ourselves to Him without intention.
Lavish love sustains.
Mary had critics. They accused her of wastefulness. There will always be those who ridicule our love and devotion, we must not lose heart. Jesus defends us, as He did Mary, for valuing His presence above all else.
Are you guilty of lavish love? What relationships in your life lack acts of lavish love? What are you going to do about it?