February 15 I Friday
“Then Mary took about half a litre of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair.” —John 12:3
A philosophy professor filled a large empty jar with rocks and asked his students if they agreed it was full to which they replied, “Yes.” Then he put a box of pebbles into the jar and they nestled between the rocks. He asked again, “Is it full?” The students said it was. The professor then poured a box of sand into the jar and it trickled down into all the gaps. “Now is it full?” “Yes, now it’s full,” they answered. Next, he added a jug of water until the jar overflowed. “Now it’s really full,” the students replied.
The professor then said this: “This jar represents your life. The rocks are the important things: your family, friends, health; things that if everything else were lost, your life would still be full. The pebbles represent other, not as important, things, like your job, house, car. The sand is everything else, the small things in your life.” He explained that if you put the sand in the jar first and then add the pebbles, there would be no room for the rocks. The same goes for your life. If you spend time on the sand and pebbles, you will not have room for the important things.
Two days before the Passover, at a special dinner being held in honour of Jesus, Mary of Bethany appeared with an expensive perfume. She anointed the feet of Jesus with it and then wiped His feet with her hair. The disciples were indignant of this, but Jesus knew her well. She was a woman who loved extravagantly and sacrificially, and in knowing Jesus, she knew her rocks from her pebbles and sand.
Our understanding of Christian truth does not derive from intelligence or knowledge, but from our disposition towards God. Mary was not thinking of an extravagant, sacrificial love when she used the expensive oil on Jesus. It was simply a natural response from her heart. There was no need to reprimand her, as Judas did, that her extravagance was neglecting other priorities, like helping the poor. True, extravagant love for God inevitably leads to loving others.
How do we show Jesus extravagant love? More than monetary value, it is about being in a committed relationship with Jesus in which we are willing for it to be costly. This may involve giving up a job or staying single, going overseas or allowing our children to go to foreign lands in service for Christ. The point is that whatever happens, if we make Jesus the primary rock in our jar, all the pebbles and sand could filter out and we would still have the most important thing.
Prayer: Lord Jesus, the sand and pebbles pale in comparison to knowing You. I want my relationship with You to be the rocks in my jar, and I thank You for being “the rock” in my life.
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