“God’s extravagant love sometimes seems like impractical generosity.”
Thoughts from daily Bible reading for today – September 9, 2022
Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:3, ESV
Filled with gratitude for her brother Lazarus being raised from the dead by Jesus—Mary now comes to express her generous love for Jesus by preparing Him for His death and resurrection. She anoints him from head to toe with pure nard—the best essential oil of the day, worth almost a year’s wages. Impractical to the disciples, as Judas the treasurer barks out disingenuously, “This doesn’t make business sense, we could sell this asset and give the proceeds to the poor”! Impractical generosity to the stingy, selfish mind—but a beautiful sacrifice of love to Jesus. He says, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me” (John 12:7-8). Love sometimes seems impractical.
Is the Lord elevating your love for Him in a manner to be expressed with impractical generosity? Time you may have designated for yourself that He may be calling you to volunteer for His Kingdom? Wisdom you have acquired over the years, is the Spirit leading you to impart to younger, teachable hearts? Assets God has blessed you with, is extravagant love for Jesus bidding you to make them available to those weary in the Lord’s work so they can enjoy rest? Or, like Mary, Christ is calling you to liquify assets and use them now—compounding interest for the Lord’s Kingdom, not your own, which seems impractical but immensely practical for eternal purposes.
“But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it” (John 12:4-6, ESV).
What seems like impractical generosity to the world or to a cultural Christian, is Kingdom currency in God’s economy to the extravagant lover of the Lord. Charles Spurgeon describes the beauty of freely giving, “There is nothing to satisfy love in the slender oblations which come forth like an unwilling taxation, which a miser could scarce withhold. But oh, to give to the Lord Jesus freely, richly, whatever it is with which He has entrusted us, whether it gold or genius, time or words—whether it be the minted coinage of the purse, or the living courage of a loving heart, or the labor of an earnest hand! Let us give our Well-beloved the best we have, and He will call it beautiful. Mary’s gift was all for Him and all for love, and it was done at great expense and therefore it was beautiful.” Beauty is the all-encompassing expression of loving generosity!
Most of all, receive, revel in and be grateful for God’s generous gifts to you. Undeserved but worthy. Worthy because of who you are in Christ—His beloved in whom He gives the best gifts. When you are blessed in ways that don’t seem practical, instead of feeling guilty, rejoice with friends and family, and pray for ways to be a conduit for Christ’s extravagant love to others. Generosity follows generosity. Like surging waterfalls, generosity flows over cliffs of fear, boldly spills into pools of refreshment, as the cool water gushes downstream, so rafts can float over the rocks of adversity. Impractical generosity is God’s practical way to accomplish His will.
“Much is required from those to whom much is given, for their responsibility is greater” (Luke 12:48, TLB). “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25).
Heavenly Father, give me the courage to bless you and others with my impractical generosity, through Christ’s love and in Jesus’ name, amen.
Pause. Pray. Ask God, “Lord, show me how you love me extravagantly with what seems like your impractical generosity, and give me the humility and grace to receive.”
Brandon Lake: Gratitude
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