Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3
About a week before Jesus’ crucifixion, Jesus dined with Mary, Martha and Lazarus (and Simon). While Martha was busy preparing the meal, Mary was moved to sit at Jesus’ feet and wash his feet with expensive perfume. Judas, who would betray Jesus in less than a week, complained that Mary should have used her money more wisely – rather than wasting expensive nard perfume oil, sell the oil and give the money to the poor. Jesus knew that what Mary had done was from a place of pure love and dismissed what Judas had said.
Have you ever given a gift that you knew was “too much” or “extravagant”? Have you ever just given out of the kindness of your heart with no thoughts to your financials? My husband will tell you that I love to give and receive gifts. Gifts are my favorite. It’s a little-known fact. I see things all the time that remind me of a friend, a loved one, my kids. I have learned to show restraint but every once in a while, I’m moved to just throw caution (and money) to the wind and make that purchase. There is a feeling that comes with the purchase of a thoughtful gift. A sense of internal joy. I admit that this is a feeling that I love.
I imagine that is what Mary must have felt on that day 2000 years ago. Picture it yourself – loving Jesus with all of your heart and soul. He brought your beloved brother back from the dead, after all. He loved your father, who was a leper. Mary’s love of Jesus was pure. Now, picture that you are seated at the feet of Jesus and want to honor him, give him a gift. What is a gift that you could possibly give him (A KING) that would feel even close to grand enough? Meaningful enough? I picture Mary remembering the nard and being moved to make this generous and extravagant gesture. That perfume was said to have cost as much as a year’s wages. Let that settle for a minute. A full year’s wages. That number is different for you and me but imagine giving a gift that was worth your whole salary.
Mary’s gift was extravagant. But she was MOVED to honor Jesus in that way. Let’s all try to be a little more like Mary. A little more extravagant in our giving, our generosity, our love for Jesus.
Prayer: Dear Lord, move us to make sacrifices in the name of your son. Move us to be generous with our giving. Move us to make gestures that show we are followers of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen