It was early Christmas morning. I had gotten up and hung a large Thomas Kinkade painting on the high wall of our vaulted ceiling living room. Now my wife and the kids were waking up. The kids and I waited to see my wife's reaction to the surprise gift. It was worth the price.
This special gift, which is now hung prominently in our new house, produced unexpected reactions from our friends. Some were happy but also questioned whether the money should have been spent in a more productive way.
The responsible and the level headed can be easily caught in this wrong thinking. Understanding Extravagant Giving versus normal giving can help us avoid this normal human thinking.
Mark 14:3-9 – Just before the Passover when Jesus was to die:
When he (Jesus) was in Bethany reclining at table in the house of Simon the leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of perfumed oil, costly genuine spikenard. She broke the alabaster jar and poured it on his head.
There were some who were indignant. “Why has there been this waste of perfumed oil? It could have been sold for more than three hundred days’ wages and the money given to the poor.” They were infuriated with her.
Jesus said, “Let her alone. Why do you make trouble for her? She has done a good thing for me… She has anticipated anointing my body for burial. Amen, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed to the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
This symbolic gesture of love was with Jesus on the cross. In the darkest time, the fragrance of this extravagant gift was a comfort. Giving Extravagant Gifts only happens occasionally and is viewed by Heaven by a different value system – a Heavenly value system.
Jesus wanted His disciples and us to understand this Heavenly value system. Just a few days before the above event this happened.
He (Jesus) sat down opposite the treasury and observed how the crowd put money into the treasury. Many rich people put in large sums. A poor widow also came and put in two small coins worth a few cents.
Calling his disciples to himself, he said to them, “Amen, I say to you, this poor widow put in more than all the other contributors to the treasury. For they have all contributed from their surplus wealth, but she, from her poverty, has contributed all she had, her whole livelihood.”
Extravagant Giving is our foundation as a Christian. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.
As we give gifts to one another, may we all understand the true Extravagant Gift.