Extravagant love....


Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Dear Friends:

I read today the story of the woman (Mary, sister of Martha and Lazarus) that poured an “alabaster jar or pure nard” on the head of Jesus—-a very holy and outrageous act of love. Nard (whatever it is) was very expensive and the woman was roundly criticized for the waste.  After all, it was pointed out, that nard could have been sold and the money used to help the poor.  Jesus rebuked her tormentors and told them that she had done a very good thing and that what she did would not be forgotten.

 

I love these kinds of stories because they show Jesus turning common assumptions and accepted mores on their heads!  Yes, yes, the money used for the nard could be sold to help poor people.  But Jesus probably knew that none of those condemning the woman would have used the nard for the poor or to anoint His head—-they would have kept the money!   I could imagine Him saying, “Fine, why don’t you go out and sell something valuable that you have, such as this woman possessed (i.e. nard) and  give the money to the poor.  In my opinion they were frauds and Jesus knew it.

 

But more importantly, this woman was honoring the King of Kings and Lord of Lords with the best she had!  She gave God’s Son her very best—-not what was left over. That’s how it’s supposed to be in life! We give Him our best………and He takes care of the rest. I give Him the best time of the day (morning) to seek Him, I give Him the best (first part) of my paycheck, I offer Him my highest devotion, attention and commitment—-and He looks after me (Matthew 6:33). That’s the plan!

 

I recently heard a young Christian speaker comment that, “The two primary commands of “Loving God with all your heart, mind soul and strength” and “Loving your neighbor as your love yourself” are inseparable parts of the front and back of a coin. Both are essential. You can’t do one without the other”.  But this is contrary to scripture and displays a lack of an understanding of  God. If I love God totally, radically, extravagantly and with all my being, I will love my neighbor as I love myself! It will happen naturally and uncontrollably.  But the reverse is not the case!  If I love others totally, radically, etc, there is NO assurance that I will find, let alone fall in love with God.  I might become a wonderful humanitarian, or a philanthropist,  but I will never develop the deepest possible love for them unless I am FIRST exposed to and immersed in the LOVE OF GOD.  

 

This woman did an excessive, abandoned and over-the-top thing for our Lord. Praise God that she did and that there are still people that do the same!   May God provides witnesses of utter abandonment to God this summer at our camp and may we all be infected.

 

 

Warmly,

 

Dean Barley

The Vineyard

Dean@VineyardCamp.com

336 351 2070

919 368 8493 (Mobile)

The Vineyard

 

 

 


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