My blessed and beautiful wife has spent most of our married lives trying to get me to eat moderately. That's probably for several reasons, including helping the family budget. She also likes the idea of having a husband that doesn't look like a balloon. But I digress. She has discovered that there's not a whole lot that I do moderately - including eating. So my strategy has been to shift to foods that I can eat radically - that don't cause undulating expansions in my waistline. So I eat large quantities of rocket (aragula) and tomatoes. The extravagent eating of aragula has key health benefits.
Extravagence and Jesus
There is a quaint idea inscribed on the hearts and minds of quite a few religious folks that Jesus was a nice, moderate guy. Moderate means not excessive, not extreme, reasonable; of average quality, mediocre. Here's the deal: Jesus was not moderate; he was radical. And in Mark 14:1-9, we read about a radical response to his radical Lordship.
During the week before he was crucified, a woman brought an alabastar jar of pure nard perfume and broke it and anointed Jesus. That's beautiful, but when we realise that the value of this jar of perfume was worth over a year's wages - that's more than beautiful, its extravagent. Bible scholars debate the source of this money; it could have been a dowry she had been saving, it could have been from the kind of work she did. But it was worth a whole bunch of money, and the people watching it were amazed.
Actually, more than amazed, they were indignant. They asked, 'Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor'. They judged the woman's extravagance as being inappropriate. But they missed the point because nothing ever given to Jesus is a waste. This is what Jesus said about it:
1. This woman has done a beautiful thing. Acts of devotion are always beautiful.
2. This woman did what she could. She didn't give what she didn't have; she did what she could with what she had, and that's the key to receiving a smile from the Saviour.
3. This woman left a memorial. Her simple, extravagant demonstration of devotion became part of the gospel story. We all want to do something that will make a difference: simple, extravagant acts of worship and giving to Jesus do make a difference.
Moral of the Story
Because of its many health benefits, I encourage everyone to eat lots of aragula. Following Jesus, however, has spiritual benefits. And that's the key lesson from this story: Jesus gave his all for us; is it not fitting that we give our all for him? REMEMBER! Nothing ever given to Jesus is wasted.