Archive for May 21st, 2008

To Give My All

Wednesday, May 21st, 2008

Today’s scripture: Luke 7:26-50 (ESV-text and audio) (KJV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two.

My thoughts (Robert Ferguson):

I have always loved this story. This woman’s public display of gratitude and praise has always connected with me — it just makes sense.

I never remember the part of the story where Jesus teaches, through parable, a valuable lesson. The arrogant nature of the Pharisee who is hosting this occasion usually goes right over my head. Each time I read this story I am fixated by the boldness and humility of this woman. She was known as the town harlot. Some translations simply refer to her as “a sinful woman.” It would be fair to classify her as an outcast or someone who lived on the fringes of society.

But she learned that Jesus was eating at this particular house, so she gathered the only thing of value that she had and she went to him. When she found him she began to weep at his feet and kiss them. It’s not recorded that she even said a word, but Jesus knew the condition of her heart and was convinced of her faith and sincerity of praise, and so she received forgiveness.

During this time in biblical history it was customary that when a guest entered a home three things should be done. The host would place a hand on the guest’s shoulder and give him the kiss of peace. This was a show of respect — particularly for distinguished guests, like a Rabbi. Cool water would have been poured over a guests feet to cleanse and comfort them. Finally, either a pinch of sweet smelling incense or a drop of rose water was placed on the guests head. These were traditions of the day and a sign of good manners, much like offering a seat and a glass of lemonade to a visitor in our homes would be today. In our reading, though, there’s no mention of the Pharisee offering any of these to Jesus.

Perhaps the Pharisee did not appreciate the living Jesus. We already know that he questioned if Jesus was even a prophet, much less the Son of God. It would be fair to say that the Pharisee didn’t know that he too was sinful and that his Savior was in his home.

But the woman, she knew that her sin was great and she possessed a burning need and was overwhelmed with love for the one who could meet it. She knew that if it was possible for her to be made whole and complete again, Jesus was the only one who could do it. She was determined to pour all of her love and everything she had out on him.

I love to worship. I crave active, passionate, and physical worship. It is my personal way to express my faith and gratitude and desire for the saving and renewing spirit of God. The one thing that shuts us off from God is our perceived self-sufficiency. Perhaps it’s because I know Jesus paid an enormous price for my salvation. Perhaps it’s because I don’t know any other way to say thank you! Either way, it makes sense that I should give my all for the one who gave his all for me.

Thought for the day: Am I giving my all? What am I holding back?

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. If you need a place to get started, consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

"Be still, and know that I am God." Psalm 46:10
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