“I’m nervous about you reading my writing.” The girl looked over, eyes cautiously, carefully communicating that the risk felt big, but she was taking it anyway. For the sake of deepening relationship and pushing against her own felt barriers, the risk felt worth it to her. She wanted to keep going further, and she wanted to do it together.

“Tuck this in your pocket and use it when it will come in handy.” Twenty-five dollars pressed into my palm. The elderly couple moved slowly with me to the door. Nerve pain radiated down swollen legs as they shuffled the walker forward. “Seriously, Y’all it’s ok!  I can get myself out the door.” But they wanted me to know how much it mattered that I had come. Reaching past painful movement, they hugged me tight and said, “Come back anytime.”

Perhaps it was emotion like this that prompted the woman to buy the expensive perfume. Desire swelled in her not just to be with Jesus, but to be joined with him in his pathway. She wanted him to know that He mattered, that she somehow understood what was coming. That her heart was heavy with sorrow at the loss of him.

Carefully she poured oil over his head. Yet still a small rivulet of oil traced its way down his cheek; the cheek that would be slapped and punched repeatedly. Looking around she found only her hair to catch the droplets. With a slow downward motion, she smoothed the oil into his skin over and over…as if she could ease the pain of what was coming.

“You have got to be kidding me! Don’t just stand there! Stop her! She’s wasting our resources. She’s misusing our funds. She’s drawing undue attention to herself. She should be ashamed.”

But her focus was on Jesus only.

Dismissing their superiority, disregarding their criticism, she cared only for his response. What mattered was that he felt her love, her regard, her presence. It mattered that he know, in an unmistakable way, that she loved him and would give anything for him.

Jesus understood her actions. They reflected his. He knew the cost of her risk. He was about to do the same and more. He could be the focus of her heart because he loved her the same way.

It’s how he loves us too.

The largeness of his heart pulses in us. It is always at work deep inside. When we would be small and miserly, clinging to petty offenses and tangible fears, his love invites us to, “Take risks that don’t always go well. To let generosity rise and rise again. To make sure our people know that he loves them. And they’ll know it…by the way we love them.”

As you read this, what draws or awakens in you? Perhaps someone comes to mind who has loved you this way. Maybe there is someone you wish to love freely, generously but there are barriers. What do you sense God is inviting you to?


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Inside the Story
In Faith