The Priorities of Extravagant Love
I asked Beth to sing this song for our Valentine’s meeting because it focuses on a woman’s extravagant Love for her Messiah. Do you know the story of the woman and the alabaster jar of perfumed oil? It’s in Luke 7, Mark 14:3, Matthew 26:7, and I encourage you to go home and read it. Mary was criticized for her “waste.” The jar was expensive, the perfumed oil was very expensive; Judas said that they could have fed the poor for a year—and Jesus was into feeding the poor.
Yet Jesus blessed her extravagance, in fact it moved Him deeply. He had taught the disciples about the necessity for Him to go to Jerusalem, suffer and die as the sacrificial lamb of Passover, and then to be raised from the dead. They could not understand; they did not want the Messiah they thought would deliver them from the oppression of Roman tyranny to die! None of them “got it” until after the Resurrection. But this woman got it, she anointed him for burial, and her act is recorded in our Scriptures, even as her Master said they would be.
What has this extravagance got to do with our priorities? It has been said “Love God and do what you please.” How can this be? When the arrogant Jewish scholar sought the miracle-working teacher to inquire how to find God, he was expecting some complicated ritual, a specific formula he could legalistically follow, and Jesus simply told him: “Love God and love your neighbor.”
Those new to MOPS do not know Charlotte’s Law of Mothering.” My law, which must be inviolate if you are to enjoy successful mothering is: WHEN THE CHILDREN SLEEP, YOU MUST REST. THOU SHALT DO NO HOUSEWORK NOR FULFILL SOME IDLE TASK. THOU SHALT NOT CHAT ON THE PHONE, NOR WASTE THESE PRECIOUS MOMENTS. Pour the alabaster jar of your precious time on Jesus.
I promise you that the dishes will be there, the wash will stay put, but if you put those earthly cares first, you will have wasted your opportunity to gain inner strength. When those who need you are quiet, seek quietness yourself. “For thus saith the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel; In returning and rest shall ye be saved; in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength: and ye would not.” (Isaiah 30:15) Put on a worship CD, lie down or tuck up in your favorite chair and read a devotional book or, even better, the Word of God.
Believe me when all the children are gone—and I am there—you won’t wish you had kept a cleaner house, served the most exquisite meals, or kept the best yard in the neighborhood. You will remember those times you “lost it” over silly stuff and weep. You will wonder how your grown children can love you because your mistakes scream into your empty house. And when they come home, they don’t remember the fabulous meals or the perfect house, they laugh over the memories of sliding down the hill on pieces of cardboard, catching fireflies, falling asleep reading “Little House on the Prairie,” treasure hunts, running all over the house to find hidden prizes following these silly verses that led them to the next clue— those simple times when you have made memories by choosing to let go. I was 25 before my first child was born, we had been married for over five years, Joe was leaving for Viet Nam, and I prayed desperately for her. After he had returned home, one evening I had the house perfect. I was all lovely and ready for Joe to come home. As he pulled in the driveway, the baby crawled over to the toy box and literally threw the toys all over the living room. Joe walked into a mess and a wife in tears. I explained how hard I worked to have everything perfect. He picked Beth up, took me in his arms and said:
“Shall we send her back?” Then he told me we should be thankful that she could crawl, that she had an active mind that knew where the toys were and the will to get what she wanted. She could have been a handicapped child without those abilities. And, didn’t we want more children? Would there be less mess with more kids? He closed with his classic line: “Ten thousand years from now, what difference will it make?” At that moment I determined that I would have a home, not a house.
Throughout our years of parenting, we repeatedly used that measure: what difference will it make in eternity? This week you may have the cleanest house, but if you are stressed, angry with your children and resentful toward your husband, what have you gained for eternity? You may have tragically missed one of those opportune moments to impress a life forever. Maybe you have so injured a relationship that you cannot speak of divine things, you are unapproachable, and everyone is scared of you! And what you are speaks so much louder that what you do. Now don’t be condemned; John tells us when we sin, we have an Advocate with the Father—Jesus Himself is our lawyer, He pleads for us, and His finished work had paid the price for our sin. Confess it, and join God is casting it into the sea of His forgetfulness. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep on growing. God will give you another chance to speak into that life.
Draw near to eternity, the Kingdom of God is within us, Jesus says.
Drink deeply from the well of salvation. Your relationship with God will enable you to put first things first, to be the mom and wife that your family craves. It isn’t the house, gals, it’s the home.
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