Imagine the shock on people’s faces when Mary anointed Jesus.

At a dinner hosted in the home of Lazarus - Mary’s brother and Jesus’ friend, whom he raised from the dead - Mary brought an expensive perfume made of pure nard. We’re talking, as the disciple Judas Iscariot pointed out, “a year’s wages!”

Mary poured the oil over Jesus’ feet and wiped them dry with her hair. When Judas tried to complain, Jesus reminded him, “This perfume was to be used in preparation for my burial, and this is how she has used it.” John 12:1-8

Gift-giving can be difficult. It’s easy to get hung up on the value of our gifts and offerings. The moment we make our gifts into a calculated balancing attempt, it becomes an exchange for services. Because of this, God’s gift of grace can be difficult to accept. No matter what we do, we can’t balance God’s grace with our in-kind gifts

The good news is that for Mary and for us, giving doesn’t have to balance a thing. Whether it is with our money, our time, or our talents, we can joyfully give as we feel led.

When we understand God’s no strings attached gift in Jesus, we can respond freely as the woman did. We know we’re unbalanced, but God loves us anyway. We can stop making our gift-giving an exchange and start experiencing the joy of generosity.

The result of God’s grace in our lives is that we become more generous people. And the more we see God’s gift as extravagant, the more extravagantly giving people we want to become.

2018 Commitment Card