40 Days with Jesus – October 21st – Luke 7:36-50
Before being called into full time ministry, I had a career in retail sporting goods. I had worked my way up from a part-time salesperson to store manager, and then, later, to corporate advertising and training director. In some ways ”you can take the man out of retail, but you cannot take the retail out of the man.” When I go shopping in a store, I am often “secret-shopping” and critiquing their customer service—or lack thereof. As I shop through the clothing racks, I often find myself straightening them and arranging them better (Carleen hates it when I do that. Ha!). In retail I was taught to give excellent customer service and I trained others on how to do the same. So it really frustrates me when I go to a store, or a restaurant or even an auto repair garage that does not make the effort to make their customers feel important and valued. More often than not, I find employees, as well as managers, giving only minimum efforts.
There is a danger to giving minimum effort to our faith, as well.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” Luke 7:44-47 NIV
In this story of Jesus being anointed by a sinful woman, Simon, the Pharisee, did not, technically, do anything wrong by not offering Jesus water for his feet, a kiss or perfumed oil for his head. Those were signs of hospitality offered by a truly loving and devoted host. It would appear that Simon invited Jesus to dinner more out of curiosity or a desire to entrap Jesus, so his efforts at being a gracious host were minimal, at best.
In contrast, the sinful woman goes “over the top” in her display of love and devotion to Jesus. She is not seeking forgiveness here, but is celebrating and living a life of devotion because of the forgiveness she has received.
So, this story should cause us to pause and ask ourselves which of the two characters do we most resemble in the day-to-day practicing of our faith: the Pharisee and his minimal efforts or the woman who is totally sold-out to Jesus? Pray for God to lead you to be more devoted today.
After all, where would we be if Jesus had given us just the minimum?
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