You know how Bath & Body Works has special scents around the holidays? Well, there’s one in particular that I just love! It’s called Pink Sugarplum, and oh my word it smells delightful.
I remember one year when my husband and I were dating he had somehow found out that I really liked that particular lotion, so for Christmas that year he bought me some. But he didn’t just stop at buying me one bottle of that lotion; instead, he got me like 12 or 14 bottles of various kinds of Bath & Body Works lotions and shower gels! I have to admit that I kind of laughed when I opened them all, and no joke, I still have one or two bottles left almost 4 years later. I told him that I would have been happy with just one or two bottles, but he said he knew that, but he wanted to give me more.
I was thinking about that Christmas gift a few days ago as I was using my lotion, and I kind of laughed to myself again because looking back I realize that at the time I had no idea that that kind of over-the-top extravagance was going to be par for the course with Timothy. When he gives me gifts, when he does sweet things for me, or when he gives me words of affirmation, it is quite frequently in that same hyperbolic fashion. It makes me feel slightly spoiled, and it also makes me feel very secure in his love for me.
As I was reflecting on the generous measure which Timothy often shows me his love, I had an epiphany: That’s exactly how love is supposed to be. Extravagant. Excessive. Over-the-top. Always wanting to give more than what is expected or acceptable.
Mary Magdalene understood this. When she anointed Jesus’ head and feet, she was giving a very extravagant gift. The ointment she used could have been sold for almost a year’s wages! And she just poured it out all at once. The disciples who saw it were, appalled and even asked, “Why this waste?” (Matthew 26:8) Jesus’ response? “’Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her.’” (Matthew 26:10, 13)
Jesus wanted to make an example out of the extravagance of Mary’s gift to him. He wanted everyone who hears her story to know that you can never give too extravagant or costly a gift of love to God. No gift that you could give to God would ever be so excessive as to be considered a “waste.” Because love can’t be wasted.
That’s the kind of attitude, the kind of crazy, extravagant love that God has toward us—He sent a part of Himself to Earth, gave up what was rightfully His, and laid down His own life just to be with us! And it’s the same kind of over-the-top, hyperbolic kind of love that He craves from us.
So let me ask you this, when is the last time you gave extravagantly to God? What are some tangible ways that you can give of your love in excess to God? How can you give God more than what is acceptable or expected?