Welcome to the Sunday Devotional. We’ve been traveling the Lenten path for 5 weeks now. As we count the 40 days of Lent, did you know that Sundays are not in the count? Only 6 days of each week count toward the 40. So let’s allow ourselves to rest on this 7th day and reflect on Jesus’ journey together as we find it in John 12:1-8…
This week we find Jesus at Mary and Martha’s house. He has traveled many miles in his ministry, and he knows his time on earth is coming to an end. How tired Jesus’ feet must have been when “Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair.”(John 12:3, NLT). The disciples, particularly Judas, objected to Mary’s action noting that the perfume could be sold to raise money for the poor. Jesus defends Mary’s action by pointing out the great kindness it showed, saying, “You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me” (John 12:8). He appreciates the extreme kindness given to him.
I found myself also questioning Mary’s action, still wondering why this anointing is so important. But as I pondered this, my eyes are opened to realizing the humbleness of the situation. There is a stark contrast between the use of expensive perfume and the feet of a serving, suffering and dying Servant-King. In this action, I feel the compassion and extravagant anointing onf all people, no matter how lowly. We all are given the best gift, the gift of Jesus, God’s own son. Have you ever judged yourself or others as undeserving of this gift?
All are deserving. “For God so loved the world…” he gave us – all of us - his son and the gift of eternal life. There is no one so lowly that the gift is not offered to them. And this gift in no way depends on our worthiness to receive it. God is the ultimate giver.
We are so loved that God gave this gift to us freely. And feeling this love makes us want to respond in love and give to others. What can we give that is worthy? Do we need to raise copious amounts of money, establish far-reaching charities, or find ways to feed all the homeless? These would be wonderful accomplishments, but we can also find small ways to give in return. Small ways are equally important. We can have the feet of a servant. It doesn’t have to be anything grandiose. Small acts are important. Reaching out in small ways is the worthiest of actions. Listen to the song, “Dream Small” by Josh Wilson https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOBaLrItEyc
God has given us extravagant love. Seek God’s guidance and be a grateful giver in return.
Mission Prayer: God, where will your Spirit lead today? Help me be fully awake and ready to respond. Grant me courage to risk something new and become a blessing of your love and peace. Amen.
Author: Bonnie Barber
Various authors throughout the Chesapeake Bay Mission Center and beyond provide these thought-provoking weekly devotions.