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Extravagant Devotion

“Our Lord is filled with overflowing joy whenever He sees any of us doing what Mary did-not being bound by a particular set of rules, but being totally surrendered to Him.”

Oswald Chambers

The past few months, I’ve written about Mary of Bethany and what it means to be like her. The first thing I discovered, Mary wasn’t in a hurry. When she was with Jesus, she sat at His feet, hanging on to each word He spoke. She took the position of listening and her gaze was undistracted, singularly focused on Jesus. Secondly, Mary, being the lovesick bride, could not get enough of Jesus. She desired more time with her Bridegroom. The most recent revelation of Mary of Bethany, comes from Mark 14, verses 3-9. Mary displayed extravagant devotion.

Jesus was in Bethany at Simon’s house, a former leper whom Jesus had healed. Mary walked into the house with an alabaster flask, filled with “the highest quality of fragrant and expensive oil,” roughly a year’s wages. She gave God her best; nothing was too costly to give to Him. In her boldness, she walked right up to Jesus, broke the flask, and poured out the oil upon His head. Immediately, some were angry with her, complained to one another, and scolded her. Our extreme passion for Jesus may cause us to be misunderstood, resulting in criticism and ridicule.

But Jesus was touched by her lavish devotion to Him. He knew what she did was a sacrifice and was honored by Mary’s radical act of kindness. Jesus shushed the naysayers by saying her worship would always be remembered. “She has done all that she could to honor me” (Mark 14:8b-Passion Translation). 

Mary’s outrageous act of honor was symbolic of her life being fully surrendered and poured out for Jesus. She didn’t withhold anything from the Lover of her soul. “Now is the time for us to break ‘the flask’ of our lives, to stop seeking our own satisfaction, and to pour out our lives before Him.” (Oswald Chambers) How can we be extravagantly devoted to Jesus, by doing all that we can to honor Him?

“The limitless loving devotion to God, and the gift God makes of Himself to you, are the highest elevation of which the heart is capable.”

Edith Stein

Relevant Reflections: 

  1. How have you displayed extravagant devotion to God in the past?

  2. In what way is God asking you to pour out your life for Him as a way to show Him honor?

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