REPOST Today’s AMI QT Devotional, provided by Pastor Ryun Chang (AMI Teaching Pastor), was first posted on August 28, 2014.
Devotional Thought for This Morning
“What a Waste!”
Mark 14:3 (ESV)
“And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper,as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head.”
I had no idea that while my sister and I were finishing our lunch at a restaurant, my octogenarian mother, who was eating with us, went to the store next door to buy something. Later, as our car was about to leave, she handed me two brand new pairs of socks. Little did I realize that a hole in my sock, which she had noticed the day before, had bothered her that much. When I told her that I had many socks at home, she replied, “These are really good socks—$5 a pair.” “What?” I snapped, adding, “That’s too much. Return them!” When I was insistent, my mother reluctantly exited the car to return them; but at that moment, a glimpse of her disappointed face caught my attention. So I quickly said, “I will wear them. Don’t return them.”
For me, paying $10 for two pairs of socks was a waste of money, sort of like how the disciples felt (for an entirely different reason) upon seeing Mary pouring “an expensive perfume . . . on Jesus’ feet and wip[ing] his feet with her hair” (Jn. 12:3). One of them said indignantly, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wage and the money given to the poor” (Mk. 14:4). Recently, I heard a story of a pastor who struggled with this text while preparing a sermon, because he, too, felt that what this woman did was a waste. While agonizing over this in prayer, he heard a whisper in his heart: “Love is a waste.” The man began to weep, perhaps realizing for the first time that Christ’s death is a great “waste,” meaning so much of Christ was poured out for people who neither deserve it nor appreciate it.
No one would feel good when one’s gesture of love is rebuffed. I suppose that’s why my mother felt sad. Humanly speaking, wouldn’t God feel the same way when so many continue to reject his extravagant love expressed in Christ? Isn’t it also true that while we spare no expense for ourselves, we refuse to be extravagant toward God? So this morning, think about ways to show extravagant love for Christ.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I’ve never thought of your love expressed through Christ’s death in terms of being a “waste.” All that you have done for me is an astounding reality that causes me to feel so unworthy. Lord, I am eternally grateful for all that you have done for me because you love me. Thank you. Amen.
Bible Reading for Today: Romans 10
Lunch Break Study
Read Luke 7:36-47 (ESV): And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was reclining at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “Say it, Teacher.”41 “A certain moneylender had two debtors. One owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he cancelled the debt of both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, for whom he cancelled the larger debt.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much. But he who is forgiven little, loves little.”
Questions to Consider
1. Why was this woman compelled to “waste” such valuable thing on Christ?
2. What kept the Pharisee who hosted the dinner party from seeing what Jesus saw in her action?
3. What is the ultimate meaning of the parable given in response to the Pharisee? Who is the person who thinks that he only owes 50 denarii as opposed to 500?
1. This woman felt that no one, much less God, could ever forgive her for what she did in the past, but the Son of God did. So grateful was she toward Jesus that she spared no expense in expressing her gratitude.
2. Comparing himself to the woman, he clearly felt superior to her in moral and spiritual sense; therefore, God must love him but not her. Such wrong thinking kept him from realizing that Jesus had not come to call the righteous, but sinners (Mk. 2:17).
3. The difference is in what we bring to the table of “justification”: the ones represented by a debt of 50 denarii believe that they aren’t as sinful as others, or some of their sins can be paid for by their righteous deeds. The ones represented by a debt of 500 denarii neither excuse their sins nor try to justify themselves with their own righteousness.
Look back to all that happened today. In what way did you sense God’s abundant love for you today? Think about seemingly insignificant things that, in a closer inspection, carry a deeper meaning of His love for us.