DayBreaks for 4/13/16 – Costly Gratitude
Luke 7:36-38, 44-47 (NLTse) – One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to have dinner with him, so Jesus went to his home and sat down to eat. When a certain immoral woman from that city heard he was eating there, she brought a beautiful alabaster jar filled with expensive perfume. Then she knelt behind him at his feet, weeping. Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them…Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume. “I tell you, her sins–and they are many–have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love. But a person who is forgiven little shows only little love.”
How much does it cost to be grateful? We’re inclined to think that gratitude is more a feeling than an action. I’m not so sure, though, that we’re really all that grateful if there isn’t also some action attached to it. It’s easy to say how grateful we are, but it’s an entirely different thing to show how grateful we are.
Pastor Victor Shepherd tells the story of a missionary surgeon he met who was rather gruff and to the point. On one occasion the surgeon was speaking to a small group of university students about his work in the Gaza Strip. He was telling us that we North American “fat cats” knew nothing about gratitude. Nothing! On one occasion he had stopped a peasant hovel to see a woman on whom he had performed surgery. She and her husband were dirt poor. Their livestock supply consisted of one Angora rabbit and two chickens. For income the woman combed the hair out of the rabbit, spun the hair into yarn and sold it. For food she and her husband ate the eggs from the chickens. The woman insisted that the missionary surgeon stay for lunch. He accepted the invitation and said he would be back for lunch after he had gone down the road to see another postoperative patient. An hour and a half later he was back. He peeked into the cooking pot to see what he was going to eat. He saw one rabbit and two chickens. The woman had given up her entire livestock supply–her income, her food, everything. He concluded his story by saying us that we North Americans (and perhaps Christians as a whole) knew nothing of gratitude. He wept unashamedly at the price of their gratitude.
There is another incident concerning gratitude that will never be forgotten. It’s about a woman who poured costly perfume over our Lord as she wiped his feet with her hair. Make no mistake–the perfume was expensive, three hundred denarii, a year’s income for a laborer in Palestine.
Enough to keep a family alive for twelve months.
What has Jesus done for you? What has he done for me? How am I showing my gratitude?
PRAYER: Jesus, in my heart I am grateful to you for so many things. Help me to show my gratitude with my hands and life as well. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2016, Galen C. Dalrymple. All rights reserved.