Have you ever found yourself in a place in your life where you never thought you would be found? Sometimes it’s very dramatic, such as receiving an overnight medical diagnosis or facing the sudden death of someone you love. Other times it’s a slow occurrence of situations that pile up but yet inevitably bring you to that place………that place you never imagined yourself having to face. Many times, no one except our family or closest friends even know that we are in that place. Their prayers and their love are invaluable, yes, but still we may feel alone.
Over the past five years, I have faced the loss of some things that I love. As I talked to a good friend last night, the word that came to me was the word “adrift.” I feel, and many of our friends feel, adrift……….not certain of where we will land……….trying to find our moorings…….just hanging on some days.
This morning, as I have been reading and studying the book of Matthew, I found myself in chapter 26. Reading this scripture, and then the Gospel of Matthew expositional commentary by James Montgomery Boice, challenged and blessed me in the way that I truly needed today. Sandwiched between two terrible acts of betrayal………the plotting of the chief priest and elders against Jesus, as well as the treachery of Judas…………is the tender story of Mary and her sacrificial love for Jesus.
This Mary is the sister of Martha and Lazarus, and is the one who was always sitting at Jesus’ feet. She sat at Jesus’ feet and got to know Him as she listened to Him and talked to Him and worshipped Him. Here she was, not far away from the time that she would watch her Master die a brutal death, and for one last time she approached Jesus with her final gift. John and Mark also tell us that Mary broke the vial that she was carrying and out of it she poured a very expensive perfume, or oil, on Jesus’ head and then on His feet. Mary understood even more than the disciples about what was to soon take place. She gave this most important gift of hers to Jesus as an expression of her love for Him, and of thankfulness for His gift soon to be hers as He would die on the cross for her sins.
I’m sure that Mary shared the same uncertainty and fear that the disciples felt. Their world was about to crumble. Jesus was going to die. He kept repeating that fact to all of them. On one hand they had the corrupt, conniving chief priests and elders……and on the other hand, there was the thief Judas betraying their Lord for a mere few pieces of silver. Christ’s followers were surrounded by hopelessness and evil from individuals, religious leaders, and the government. In the midst of it all, Mary gave Jesus all that she had as an evidence to Him of her complete trust and devotion. She didn’t ask for answers or reasons or direction or blessing. She just broke her vial and gave all to Jesus.
So my thoughts today have been of the past few years and of how many parts of my life Jesus has whittled away while I’ve inwardly tried to hold on tight. Even some seemingly good things…….some productive parts of my life………have been taken away. I don’t necessarily understand it or like it or even approve of it. But in it all, I know that Jesus wants me to sit at His feet and learn from Him. He wants me to trust Him totally. He wants me to break that vial that holds my valued treasures and pour them out for Him……….to be willing to let them go in an act of worship and obedience. Without answers or reasons………just trust.
My tears may mingle with the perfume that I pour on Jesus’ feet, much as I imagine that Mary’s did, but the sweet smell of that sacrifice will bring honor to God and will bring peace to my heart.
All to Jesus I surrender;
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.
All to Jesus I surrender;
Humbly at His feet I bow.
Worldly pleasures all forsaken;
Take me, Jesus, take me now.