“Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:47
A beautiful picture of an unabashed love that comes from the forgiveness of Jesus is Mary Magdalene, a former prostitute. She boldly interrupts a dinner party in which Jesus is a guest, and as if they are the only two people in the room, she pours out an expensive jar of perfume all over Jesus’ feet. At that moment, unconcerned with what anyone else is thinking, she then washes His feet with her hair as she continually kisses them.
This act was appalling, even embarrassing to the host, Simon. He tries to point out to Jesus who she really is, just in case it’ll change His mind about allowing such filth to be near him, let alone to touch Him. However, through a parable, Jesus reveals that He did, indeed, know who she is, down to her darkest sin. Mary Magdalene has been forgiven much and understands where she’s been. She was society’s outcast until Jesus washed her sins clean. Now, through an incredible act of love for Him, she demonstrates the freedom that results from God’s forgiveness.
Do you think Mary is concerned with how much the perfume cost as she is allows it to mix with her tears and wash over Jesus’ grimy feet? Everyone else is concerned with that, not because they care about her bettering herself with that money. They only see the foolishness of it. However, all she understands is who she is now, and because of that, she is willing to give her everything as an offering to God, no matter the cost.
Every aspect of our lives should be an offering poured out to God, the One who has completely forgiven us. That’s what happens when people truly encounter Jesus—we do “foolish” things in the world’s sight. One of the hardest things for people, even Christians alike, to grasp and understand is raising support. All people see is dollar amounts and that someone is wasting his or her time, talents and energy to “beg” people for money.
Money becomes the slight of hand trick that keeps our eyes from seeing the real beauty of what is actually happening—someone has encountered God in such a way that it has moved them to sacrifice everything to follow hard after God. What would’ve happened if Mary had cared what the Pharisees and tax collectors had thought of her? She would’ve stopped what she was doing, sulked out the back door, and we would’ve missed seeing such an incredible act of redemption.
Don’t let the perspective of the Pharisees and tax collectors—friends, family, neighbors, and even spiritual community—embarrass you away from what God has called you to do, because all they see is the foolishness of it. Your story of unabashed sacrifice as a result of encountering your loving Savior will change people if you keep your focus where it should be—at Jesus’ feet. God has called you into action, and He is calling others into action as well. That’s why you’re raising support. Others get to be part of God’s work as well, and you are that bridge for them to be part of missions.
When I read Mary’s story, she didn’t know how centuries later how such a simple act would change me. I can’t read her story without wanting to lay down everything at Jesus’ feet. Be the one who allows others to encounter Jesus in that way as well. God is allowing you to start with the foolish act of raising support.
- Take time to bask in the infinite greatness of God’s forgiveness. Know where you’ve been, understand who you are know in Christ, and praise God for how He is using you for His future ministry.
- Stay focused on your act of sacrifice, not as a medal of honor to be pridefully worn, but as an offering to God. Others are watching.