One of the most beautiful stories of love in scripture is when Mary washed the feet of Jesus with her (really) expensive perfume and her hair. I’m sure everyone in the room was shocked beyond belief by her behavior. Culturally, this was unheard of and unacceptable. She was judged, ridiculed, misunderstood, and even mocked. Mary’s behavior to others was … well, just a little crazy.
God brings out the best in you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Unlike the culture around you. DFL 2013
Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at the house of Simon, the leper. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus’ feet, and then wiped them with her hair.
The fragrance of the oils filled the house.Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, “Why wasn’t this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces.” He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them.
But Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why are you giving her a hard time? She has just done something wonderfully significant for me. You will have the poor with you every day for the rest of your lives. Whenever you feel like it, you can do something for them. Not so with me. She did what she could when she could—she pre-anointed my body for burial. And you can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she just did is going to be talked about admiringly.” John 12: 1-8
This action of extravagant love + worship is something we can all do, but we are going to look a little crazy to our friends, our neighbors, and our community doing it. Let’s talk admiringly about what Mary did to show extravagance to Jesus:
- Extravagant Worship is thankful. So they gave a dinner [party] for him there.
- Extravagant Worship is perceived as wasteful. Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?
- Extravagant Worship is often undignified. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair.
- Extravagant Worship results in spiritual insight. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. (My notes are shared from Pastor John Lindell’s message on Sunday, but you can watch it live here.)
Believe me, I know people thought Roger and I were crazy, seriously crazy when we sold our home, quit our day job, and lived in three third-world countries with our children for fifteen months to serve big and love big. Honestly, at times, I thought we were crazy, too.
The culture around us probably thought we wasted money and time being happy helpers to missionaries and ministries doing crazy things like: sharing the gospel, caring for the sick, spending time loving orphans, and on and on! This much I know, when God allowed us to GO, regardless of all the “things” we might have lost, we gained more than we could ever imagine.
I’m thankful that God stretched us and used us and grew us and challenged us and loved us through every twist and turn and bump (and there were bumps!) on our God-sized adventure.
What does extravagant love mean to you in your life?
Many of you have asked what’s next for the Gibson family. Well, we spent 496 days together as a family on our Simply Love mission-adventure & today is Day 1 of my hubby, Roger’s new job as Senior Director of Adult, Family Ministry, & Business at Assembly of God National Headquarters in Springfield, MO! We are soooo excited for new beginnings!
Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love. 1 Cor. 13:13