“And there was a woman in the city who was a sinner; and when she learned that He was reclining at the table in the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster vial of perfume, and standing behind Him at His feet, weeping, she began to wet His feet with her tears, and kept wiping them with the hair of her head, and kissing His feet and anointing them with the perfume. ” Luke 7:37-38
Some mornings begin with a slow pace and some are rushed preventing me from enjoying spending the amount of time I really desire with God. However, as I come to the story of the woman with the alabaster vial of perfume, I realize that my lack of time is simply an excuse.
Take a close look at this story with me for a moment. A Pharisee by the name of Simon had invited Jesus to come sup with him at his house. Compared to the other Pharisees who had viewed Jesus as an enemy of their man-made traditions, Simon graciously invited Jesus to his home for a dinner. This news quickly spread around town that Jesus was at this man’s house for dinner. When the news made it to a certain woman, one who was known as a sinner because of her deeds, her past marked with sin and mistakes of all kinds, she took what was most valuable to her and went after Jesus. Without a doubt, as she entered the Phariseee’s home, she was likely met with disdain and reproaches. At the very least, those who identified her as a sinner must have murmured against her, saying to themselves, “doesn’t he Jesus know the kind of woman who is touching him?”
The scripture does not give us any indication of how much this woman had to travel to get to Jesus. However, the fact that she made the trip in the first place is an indication of what was most valuable and a priority to her. She did not worry about the voices around her, the stares, or how tired she was that now she had to get to Jesus. She did not delay finding the Messiah. Instead, she rose speedily when she heard he was in town, got a vial of precious perfume, which amounted easily to a year or two of wages and went to pour it lavishly on the Savior. This was likely her most costly possession but this alone was not worthy of the Savior. Therefore, she poured out something even more precious: a fountain of grateful and repentant tears. The gospel of Luke tells us that those tears were enough to “wash Jesus’s feet”. Undoubtedly, when this woman broke the vial open to pour the content, she also poured her entire heart to Jesus with her tears. She knew just how much she had been forgiven, how much grace she had benefited from and this simple fact was enough for her to come to Jesus. She had no excuses, no distance too long to travel, no time of day or night inappropriate, no other meeting to attend, no fatigue too great… Not a single excuse because being with Jesus was what mattered most. Showing her gratitude was most important and if Jesus would have returned again the next day, she likely would have been there also to tell him again and again how grateful she was to Him. To behold his beauty, to turn her heart to Him, this former sinner would have made this decision every single time because Jesus was worthy of her love, her tears, her affections, and her gratitude.
Did you picture this scene? Do you, like me, realize that it is time to put aside your excuses, do away with them to come to Jesus no matter what? How much have you been forgiven from Jesus? How has he redeemed you from your past? Shouldn’t this be enough for your complete and total devotion and adoration like this woman?
As you contemplate and meditate on this scene of the Bible, a real-life story told in the words of Luke, ask yourself: What is keeping you from having a daily devotional life? What is keeping you from coming at the feet of Jesus daily? How important is Jesus to you?
A personal devotional life begins with our understanding of God’s love for us and having a desire to return this love to Him as did the woman with the alabaster jar. It helps us stay connected to the One who created us, who loves us, and gave His Son’s life for us. Having a personal devotional life where we come to God continually is like coming to Jesus and pouring out expensive perfume over His head day after day. It is recognizing our need for God, our inability to do without Him, our thirst for a deeper relationship with Him, and a hunger for every Word that proceeds from His mouth. A personal devotional life helps us cultivate an intimate relationship with God, the kind of intimacy the woman of Luke 7 demonstrated. Our priorities, our values all appear evident based on a consistent devotional life (or lack thereof). In the day to day, many things are necessary, but only one thing is truly needed as Jesus Himself declared (Luke 10:41-42).
If we could only see how much we have been forgiven daily, we would see our need for time with our Lord daily. Not a quick fleeting moment. Not a few minutes stolen here and there but intentional, deliberate time well spent with the Savior. Those moments with Jesus would not interrupt our day but rather the obligations of the day would interrupt our time with the Lord. So today, before you take care of one more item on your list, will you make time to spend with Jesus? Will you wash his feet with your tears and pour sweet perfume over Him?
You are my Lord and my God. I’m sorry for all the times I have not made you the highest priority in my life. I’m sorry when I just go through the motions and fail to stop to meet you while you long to be with me. You have forgiven me so much over the years and much over this day alone. I come to you with a grateful heart for all you have done for me and all that you are still doing in me and for me. Teach me to pause, sit at your feet, and drink from your well. Teach me to bask in your holy presence with reverence, awe and joy. I want to look forward to our time together. Remind me each day of how much I need you in my life and humble me to come knocking at your door over and over.
In your name I pray,
Psalms 42: 1-2