Discover His heart: He is blessed by the sweet fragrance of our worship
When I was very young, I was given a tiny bottle of perfume. It wasn’t cologne. It was the real deal – perfume. I remember opening it, enjoying its sweet fragrance and thinking that it was something only for special occasions. Over the next few Sundays I dabbed it behind my ears and on my wrists like my mom had taught me, and I have to admit that I felt pretty special. The perfume was a gift of great value for such a young child, and I used it sparingly.
Somehow the perfume was misplaced, and after a while, I forgot about it. When I discovered it several years later, it had become rancid and stale and had lost its value to me. That was when I learned that some things need to be spent and enjoyed when they’re fresh and available. This was a lesson that dear Mary understood very well.
@ Mark 14
Chapter 14 portrays the story of the woman who anointed Jesus with perfume. We learn that she was Mary, of Mary, Martha and Lazarus fame. There was just something about Mary. Mary was excessive. Mary was extravagant. Mary was irrational in her worship of Jesus. According to the dictionary, worship means great or excessive love, admiration and respect felt for somebody or something, and Mary was all over that.
In fact, we read in Luke 10 that Mary had an adoration problem when Martha could not pull her sister away from the Lord’s presence to help in the kitchen. So this excessive use of her resources does not come as a surprise to us. Mary didn’t hoard or save. Mary didn’t open her jar of spikenard with great care so that she could save some for other occasions. No, she gladly broke it open to saturate her Lord with a year’s worth of wages. Can you imagine giving to the Lord something equal to this entire year’s wages? Not holding back some for a rainy day, but giving it all? Mary got it – she understood worship.
All through the ages, God had been looking for a people, made in His image, whose desire to give themselves to Him is equal to His giving of Himself to them. In our humanity, we’ll not achieve this, but He responds to our desire to do so. Mary’s selfless worship of Jesus that day reflected God’s undying love for us, the gift of Jesus who was His most precious treasure, and it also reveals His desire for intimacy with us. “I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” (9) Just as we’re doing today
Some of those present that day did not appreciate her extravagance, Judas to be sure, because they just didn’t get it – abandoned worship was off their radar. I’ve found that sometimes it’s easy to justify economizing my resources, time and attention rather than lavishing them on the One who most deserves them. It’s at those moments that I just don’t get it. He’s waiting for my love for Him to resemble, as best as this human body possibly can, His love for me – excessive, extravagant love.
Jesus left the dinner that day carrying with Him the sweet fragrance of Mary’s gift. “She has done what she could and has anointed my body for burial ahead of time.” (8) Her gift permeated the Last Supper, it surrounded the betrayal and arrest in the garden, and it lingered in the streets of Jerusalem as Jesus was led to His death. Oh, how I want my love today to permeate heaven, to fill His nostrils with a sweet fragrance of my excessive, extravagant love for him, to somehow reflect His love for me. But for this, I understand it takes some breaking, some spilling out…some excess.
Moving Forward: My prayer today, “Broken and spilled out, and poured at Your feet. In sweet abandon, let me be spilled out and used up for Thee.” (G. Gaither)
Tomorrow @ 2 Corinthians 4-5