Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. John 12:1–3
This past Sunday we talked about a place called in-between. How being in-between is not a place that anybody wants to be, but that in reality it is the place where each of us always is. My point was that we need to recognize, cherish and live in the now, the continuous now. Have you ever been so concerned about getting to the next thing that you were almost completely unable to be present in the now? Have you found as I have that this reality was not cured when you got to the next place? There is always another place to get to.
Jesus was on the way to his destiny -- to the destiny of us all -- his death on the cross, his resurrection for our sins. Mary was in the midst of some bit of confusion -- the man who raised her brother from the dead was talking about how he would soon be dead. So many questions must have been racing through her mind. And yet in the moment, she had a moment, with Jesus; an extravagant, ostentatious, probably embarrassing moment with him. It was a moment that I am sure Mary remembered until the day that she died.
We need to remember that the goal is Jesus. The goal is not family, mission, church, worship -- it’s Jesus. Those other things are very, very important -- crucial to following Jesus, but they are the outflowing, the product of our moving toward Jesus. It is not completely linear, for example, we worship Jesus because we move toward him and we move toward him as we worship. I am a better husband because I desire and move toward Jesus, but I also move toward Jesus as I live into my role as husband in dependance on God and service towards my wife. Does that make sense?
A deep sadness of mine is that so many Christians miss Jesus in the busyness of trying to get somewhere else, often in the rush to get to the place that God wants them to get. As you read this, where do you find Jesus, now? Consider taking a piece of paper and a jotting down 10 ways that you recognize Jesus’ presence and grace are with you now. What if you were to do that two or three times a day? Give it a try. Let me know how it goes. Share what happens with others. I guarantee that if you do this simple exercise, you today or hopefully longer, you will enter into each area and responsibility of your life with a greater awareness of Jesus, with less stress or concern, with more courage and hope.
Peace, hope and love