A Time to Give
Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus' feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.
Margaret Jensen grew up as the daughter of a pastor during the Depression. She remembers the day her family awaited her father's paycheck so they could buy food. When her father arrived home, he handed her mother not money but a string of pearls. He bowed low and told his wife, "Mama.… You have such a beautiful throat, you should wear pearls."
Margaret's mother graciously accepted the impractical gift and said she would wear it always. As Margaret writes,"Later she told me, ‘There is a time and place for everything. Sometimes we need pearls more than potatoes. That was the time for pearls.' "
Graciously receiving an act of kindness is a way of treating others courteously. When Mary anointed Jesus's feet with expensive perfume, Judas objected. But Jesus said, "Leave her alone.… It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial" (John 12:5, 7). Mary was the sister of Lazarus, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Her act was likely an expression of deep appreciation for what Jesus had done. Jesus courteously accepted it and did not question her motive.
Some of us find it easier to give than to receive. But when we show courtesy by receiving what others offer us, we are giving them the opportunity to know the joy of loving.
Father, I pray for the courtesy to receive the gifts of others well.
Dr. Gary Chapman is the beloved best-selling author of The Five Love Languages and Love as a Way of Life. For more information, click here.