Practice Extravagant Generosity
By Michele McGrath of Blue Springs, MO, USA
Mary took a pound of costly perfume made of pure nard, anointed Jesus’ feet, and wiped them with her hair…Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, said, “Why was this perfume not sold and the money given to the poor?” …Jesus said, “Leave her alone. You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.” —John 12:3–8 NRSV, adapted
There was excitement in the air that day in Tecate, Mexico. It was Sunday, time to gather for worship! Plus, there was to be a convivio afterward—a potluck-style get-together that promised an afternoon of food and companionship.
I went to pick up the family that was generously providing frijoles, or beans. When I pulled up, family members emerged from their small rectangular home bearing enormous pots of beans and shooing children ahead of them. It was then that I realized this house had no doors. Only curtains covered the openings. Where was this family’s security? Where was its barrier from the cold? And how was it possible that a family with no doors on its home was providing frijoles for the entire congregation?
This was an extravagant gift given in response to all this family had received—new life in Christ, hope for the future, the blessings of community. Judas-like, some might say they should have used their money differently. But that response makes sense only if you missed all the joy of the gospel that this response expressed—joy shared and gratefully received, magnified companionship around a maze of folding tables later that day.
When we confront smelly sandals,
remember the fragrant feet of Christ.
When we feel something is “over-done” or costly,
remember it’s the thought that counts.
Special occasions call for special effort.
Express your passion about what matters most.
If you wonder how the good news of Christ is told,
it is told in remembrance of the one whose
pricey perfume prevailed.
Prayer for Peace
Generous God, we give for the cause of justice. We give for the cause of peace. We give because we love the ones in need.
Spiritual Practice: Generous Offerings
Spend time meditating on the act of giving an offering. Begin by asking God for the spirit of generosity. Pray and reflect with these questions: How do I feel when I bring my offering to a worship setting and share it? What deep reasons motivate me to give? What is my best understanding of A Disciple’s Generous Response? Considering my financial circumstances, do I feel I am giving to my true capacity? In other words, am I giving the amount I am able without risking the needs and well-being of myself or my family? Is God asking me to be more generous? How will I respond?
Today, God, I will take joy in what I have given and find ways to give again.