Thursday, March 12, 2009

Open Hand Giving he was reclining at table,
a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment
of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask
and poured it over his head.

Mark 14:3b

Even with the most loved family member there is usually a budget when it comes to gift giving. Hours are spent to find just the right gift within our financial means. Perhaps, while searching, frustration comes to play when wishing that the roof was the limit instead of one’s wallet! Nevertheless, there is a restraint to our generosity. After all, the mortgage is due next month.

The woman who anoints Jesus at Bethany shows no such restraint. She blows the roof off with her gift! Whether the ointment was specifically purchased or was in her closet, she gives a gift that puts a strain on her financial resources. In her mind, Jesus deserved the very best, even if the cost was future stability.

For most of us we have a firm grasp on a variety of things we consider "valuable." Perhaps a monetary value cannot be determined, but, whatever they are it’s certain that losing or giving them away would be painful.

Jesus, didn’t ask for the woman’s gift. She gave it willingly and generously. And while this passage illustrates the preparation for Jesus’ burial this woman also gives us another example. Her action should prompt us to ask, “How generous am I willing to be in response to my loving Jesus?”

From jobs, to homes, to wanting to be married, to children, to spouses, to retirement accounts--whatever it maybe that you hold as valuable are you willing to pour it generously over the head of Jesus? In Mark this woman is nameless but her generous example has endured.

Jesus, I love you with all my heart, soul and mind.
And while I want to give generously to You I struggle.
Help me to remember the woman from Bethany
each time my fingers curl around that which I hold dear.

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