Monday, February 28, 2011

Poured Out

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.
                                                                                                                John 12:3

Mary gave Jesus a financially costly gift. In John 12:5, Judas observes that the perfume was worth a year’s wages. As I consider what my most recent W-2 shows my wages to be, it gives me a sense of just what Mary gave to Jesus.

Her gift was unconditional. She did not simply hand Jesus the jar of perfume; she poured it out on his feet. It was unrecoverable.

But this gift was more than a financial commitment. Mary gave Jesus her life, her future. I’ve heard that the perfume likely represented her dowry, and was required if Mary was to be married. Marriage was the only hope of security for women of that time. So Mary sacrificed her future security because of her love for Jesus. She put her whole future in Jesus. She abandoned herself to God, pouring out her life as the perfume ran over Jesus’ feet and onto the floor of the house.

Do I love Christ this much? Can I give everything I have, my material goods, my whole self, and my future to God, poured out in an unrecoverable gift? Do I trust Jesus that much?

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

In Need of a Gate

The pursuit of my life lately has been allowing God to be in control and accepting that God is sufficient. It has been a frustrating pursuit, not because of anything God is doing, but because it is so hard for me to relinquish the control I think I have to God and to clear my thoughts of all the junk that fills my head and distracts me from acknowledging the sufficiency of God.

This morning I was reading John 10:1-18, where Jesus describes himself as both the gate for the sheepfold and the shepherd. He talks about the thieves and robbers who sneak over the wall to disrupt the sheep and contrasts that with the shepherd who enters through the gate. Verse 10 says: “The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.”

A rich and satisfying life. This is what Jesus wants to give us. Yet I know I get distracted by the thieves and robbers who steal my time and my attention away from God. And because I am just a dumb sheep, I am so easily distracted by their deceitfulness. I fall into their traps of thinking that surely I must do this or that thing or it will not get done or that I must be productive instead of trusting God to provide what I need. My times of prayer are interrupted by sneaky thieves who turn my thoughts to what I will prepare for supper. Robbers steal my joy by telling me that I haven’t done enough to “earn” God’s love or to merit the rich and satisfying life Jesus promises.

I need Jesus to be my gate, to be the filter that prevents the demands this world wants to place on me from getting over the wall. I need to listen only for my Shepherd’s voice, and follow him alone. He knows so much better than I do what is necessary for my well-being. It is only in surrendering to my Shepherd and realizing that all that is needed is for me to trust him that I can have the peace of a rich and satisfying life.