[Image of a widow’s hands holding a small coin]
Have you ever been so excited about giving that you forgot yourself?
The day I bought my wife’s engagement ring was like that for me. I wanted to spend more, and I spent all I had—all my student loan money.
Sometimes we get glimpses of instances like that in the Bible. When David worshiped before the Ark of the Covenant it was like that. He lost track of himself and even most of his clothes, as he danced before the Ark in his underwear.
When Solomon dedicated the temple it was like that: they offered 22,000 bulls and 122,000 sheep that day. There would have been a literal river of wine, fragrant ointments, and blood that flowed from the temple, flooding the Valley of Gehenna and eventually pooling in the Dead Sea—the sea of Arabah, the sea of waste.
The woman (in Matthew 26 )who anointed Jesus just a few days before his burial was like that. She poured out an entire year’s wage on Jesus’ head as an act of worship.
Maybe you can relate to that kind of love—a desire to spend all that you have shamelessly for the sake of love. Or . . . maybe not so much. . . Maybe you struggle to give even what little you have. Maybe it’s because of a wound, a fear or a feeling that what you actually can offer is insignificant.
Maybe you can relate to the prostitute, in Luke 7, who had used her perfumed oil to cover the smell of prostitution. She wore that ointment as if she were wearing shame. She wore it as shame. . . and yet she gave it.
Maybe, in some way or another, you relate to offering both love and shame . . .
No matter what you have to offer, no matter the reasons, you can always give both—the burnt offering and the sin offering, good deeds, and the confession. They are both fragrant offerings—the fragrant offering—treasured by God.
You may have great talents—if so, give God those talents.
You may have meager talents—if so, give Him those talents.
He loves them both the same—if you just give Him what you’ve got.
You may have millions of dollars—give Him what you’ve got.
Perhaps, you only have a widow’s mite—give Him what you’ve got.
Your Father in Heaven isn’t worried about what you’ve got—He’s already got everything. But He would literally die for you—in the hope that you might give Him what you’ve got, which is what He’s already given.
Do you remember the story of the woman in Matthew 26 who broke an alabaster flask and anointed Jesus?
She gave what she had . . .
And you can always give what you have . . .
She gave all she had.
It was painful.
It was absolute joy.
It was sacrificial.
She gave unselfconsciously.
She gave naturally.
She gave personally.
But how did she do it?
In that story, in Matthew 26:1, Jesus reveals that He will be delivered up to crucifixion. The disciples think it’s a waste. They think it’s good for nothing.
Then we are introduced to this woman that dumps a literal fortune of fragrant oil on the head of our Lord. The disciples declare that the woman’s act is a waste—that it’s good for nothing.
But Jesus declares that it’s a kalos ergon (in Greek), a “good work,” the “beautiful thing.” Not that it’s good for something . . . it’s just good. It’s beautiful. Beautiful means good for nothing—just good…like a sunset. It doesn’t matter how you use it; it’s just good.
This woman is able to love this way because she loves Jesus when He seems to be good for nothing . . . just good. And she’s able to do that because she sees that Jesus loves her even when she thinks she’s good for nothing. And she does something that seems to be good for nothing . . . and Jesus calls it Good.
When she loves just for the sake of love, even when it appears that Jesus is going to be delivered up and will be “good for nothing,” she does a beautiful thing! And in her worshipful act of love, she is in ecstasy.
The word “ecstasy” comes from the Greek word ecstastasis, meaning out of statsis—out of normal and lost in wonder, as in a trance.
This woman is in ecstasy; it’s not a waste, but she is wasted.
• She’s not drunk with wine, but she’s filled with the Spirit.
• She’s losing herself and finding herself.
• She’s pouring out the Spirit and being filled with the Spirit all at once.
Saint Francis said, “Blessed is he that expecteth nothing, for he shall enjoy everything.”
So, what can you give to the One who gives everything?
Well… give Him all you have. And give Him both the burnt offering and the sin offering—good deeds, and the confession.
They are both fragrant offerings—the fragrant offering—treasured by God.
“And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.” —Ephesians 5:2
This devotional was prepared by Kimberly Weynen, Peter Hiett’s assistant. It is a compilation of devotional thoughts from Kimberly and excerpts from Peter’s larger sermon entitled “The Beautiful Thing and How to Do it.” You can read, watch or listen to “The Beautiful Thing and How to Do It” in its entirety here: http://www.thesanctuarydenver.org/