I had just found that perfectly comfortable spot in bed. You know that moment when you finally feel yourself shutting off the to do list of your mind and drifting into the sound first sleep of the night when my bliss was interrupted.
“Honey, would you mind putting that oil on my hands?” my husband asked.
I felt my inner self grumble but I sat up because I knew how hard that he had been working. He had been tirelessly laying the tile floor in our new house giving every spare minute that he had for weeks now. His hands bearing the evidence of his commitment were cracked and painful from his sacrifice of love.
I went to retrieve the oil from our dresser in the dark, refusing to turn on the light in an effort to not disturb my state of near slumber.
I unscrewed the cap, and attempted to rub the roller ball on his cracked finger tips. It didn’t take long for me to realize that the top had popped off, and one of my most expensive oils was pouring all over him.
My mind immediately went to the scene when Mary anointed Jesus with oil in John 12
12 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. 3 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. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 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.7 Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”
But who did I resemble in this story?
Martha, the organizer and planner was going through great effort to make sure everything detail of their dinner party was taken care of. She was most likely immersed in her work. And then there is Lazarus, still basking in the joy of his miracle he rested comfortably near the presence of the giver.
And Mary wanting to just be in the presence of the one who had given her so much, she once again chose to sit at His feet. But today, she not only wanted to be near Him and hear His every word, she wanted to serve Him with all of her heart. So much so, that she was not at all stingy in what she was willing to give and she was not at all worried about the cost. She used a pound of expensive ointment equal to a years wages according to Judas’ estimate. And it is quite possible that Judas was not the only one in the room to glare with judgement as this costly oil was poured out on the feet of her Lord and Savior. But Mary was not at all concerned about what anyone in that room thought. She was acting purely and selflessly. She acted in love.
Immediately I was convicted.
I wanted to be like Mary, but it was obvious that my heart was not in that place. I was worried about the cost of the oil that spilled. I was worried about the few minutes of sleep that I was missing out on. Even though my actions were honorable, my heart was not. I was only thinking about me. Horrified I realized that all of my graveling made me a lot more like Judas, the betrayer.
As I prayed, overwhelmed with sorrow by the sin revealed in my heart, I realized that Mary’s actions were honorable because her heart was honorable.
“Lord forgive me. How do I love my husband and others with a pure heart, setting myself and my selfishness aside?”
He whispered to my soul, “How much have I poured out for you? Have I held anything back? I want you to love like that. Pour yourself out like the oil.”
Still stuck in my selfishness, I immediately protested, “But Lord if I continually pour myself out, I will be empty?”
“Not when you are sitting at my feet.”
Psalm 23:5 He anoints my head with oil, my cup overflows. When we are sitting at the feet of Jesus, we will not run empty. I cannot love the way I am called to unless I am constantly being filled up with Jesus, gleaning his every word and allowing Him to restore my soul. Then and only then can I pour out my oil again and again no matter the cost bringing Him glory with my every relationship.
Ephesians 5:2 And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
I wiped the excess oil down with the sheets, the bottle was empty.
“I love you.” I said, but he was already drifting off to sleep.
My heart was changed. The room smelled delightful.