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Extravagance

Extravagance

26 November 2011

Reading: Psalm 125; Matthew 26-27

Scripture:

6 Meanwhile, Jesus was in Bethany at the home of Simon, a man who had previously had leprosy. 7 While he was eating, a woman came in with a beautiful alabaster jar of expensive perfume and poured it over his head. 8 The disciples were indignant when they saw this. “What a waste!” they said. 9 “It could have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, replied, “Why criticize this woman for doing such a good thing to me? 11 You will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me. 12 She has poured this perfume on me to prepare my body for burial. 13 I tell you the truth, wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world, this woman’s deed will be remembered and discussed.” (Matthew 26:6-13 NLT)

I was raised to look with disfavor on extravagance and waste. My folks lived simply and frugally, and I was taught to hold the same values. “Make it do, do without. Use it up, wear it out.”

This woman—we’re told in another place that it was Mary, the worshipper—extravagantly wasted a very valuable bottle of perfume on Jesus. Jesus’ disciples criticized her. “What a waste!,” they grumbled. Jesus praised her. “She has done a good thing to me!” he said. Jesus promised that wherever the Good News is preached throughout the world and through the years, what she did would be remembered and discussed.

Actually, I’m fulfilling Jesus’ prophetic promise by thinking about her act of extravagant worship and writing about it today! How about that!

I’m not very a extravagant person. Not by upbringing. Not by experience. Not by personality. Not by practice. I want to learn from Mary and Jesus to be extravagant in the right way at the right time. There’s no good reason that I can’t waste something valuable on someone I love deeply!

Prayer:

Father, You are so extravagant in your unconditional love! Please help me learn to be appropriately extravagant. I am surrounded by so much love. I so love the people you have placed around me. Teach me how to express my love for you and others extravagantly! Amen.

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