My wife and I are celebrating seven months of marriage today. The time is flying by and I’ve never been happier.
I ordered seven pink roses for her—one for each month of marriage. This carefully arranged bouquet is both beautiful and fragrant. The rosebuds have begun to open since my wife placed them in our vase. I’m reminded of how blessed I am each time I glance over at the colorful petals, now slowly coming into full bloom.
There’s one word I would not use to describe this “monthsary” gift: practical. Lovely as they are, these flowers will soon wilt away. We’ll have no choice but to throw them out with nothing tangible to show for the spent money
But I didn’t think twice about ordering this gift for my wife. Why? The smile on her face was worth it to me. I’ll only have one opportunity to experience my first year of marriage. I don’t want to look back at this year and have any regrets.
This small token of my love reminds me of a story we read in John’s Gospel a few days ago:
Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then 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. The house was filled with the fragrance.
But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.
Jesus replied, “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me.”
Mary’s gift wasn’t just impractical—it was extravagant. The perfume mentioned was probably imported from India and usually came in very small containers. Such a large jar would have been hard to find and extremely expensive. Judas correctly assessed the value and unwittingly gave us insights as to the depth of her love for Jesus.
Scholars debate the exact meaning of Jesus’ reference to his burial. But one thing seems clear to me: this gift was fitting for a Savior who would soon give his life at Calvary.
Extravagant love. We know Jesus deserves it, but how often to we really demonstrate it? Do we, like Mary, believe that nothing is too valuable pour on Jesus’ feet?
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