Some dear friends recently blessed us in an extraordinary way. They lived out the story of Mary putting expensive perfume on Jesus’ feet. John 12:3: “Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.” (Here is the full story.)
We often overlook: “The house was filled with the fragrance.” Mary’s actions affected many – not just Jesus. We don’t know her motivations. She may have wanted to see others’ reactions. Most people, including me, assume that she had pure motivations. But that does not matter. More important is that her actions blessed many. John told the story, and we still hear it two thousand years later! (I am not sure how many of today’s millions-viewed viral videos with will be seen two thousand years from now.)
So what are some ways you can be extravagant for Jesus?
- In the morning, don’t just buy coffee for the person in line behind you. At lunch, buy a meal for the person behind you in line.
- Carry supermarket gift cards to give to homeless people on street corners.
- Mow your neighbor’s front lawn.
- Invite someone you know who’s on the edge of social acceptability to the baseball game.
- If you’re a CEO, volunteer to be a summer kids’ camp counselor. (I’m not a CEO, but I did that a few years ago, and it was hard!)
- Fly a distant friend to visit you for the weekend.
Tell them why you’re doing it, only if they ask. Or like Mary, leave it up to Jesus to tell them.
When you pour yourself out for Jesus, you may affect more people than you plan to. Be extravagant for Jesus today.
(Paul Merrill writes here every First Friday.)