A few days ago Sherry and I were talking about the Biblical meaning of the word “lavender” as we worked on the RESTORE website. I had forgotten the significance of "spikenard" or "lavender" in God’s eyes. When the word “spikenard” is used in the Bible it is believed that it refers to what we know as lavender.
"Then took Mary a pound of ointment of spikenard, very costly, and anointed the feet of Jesus, and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the odor of the ointment." John 12:3
The Lord has often used this story to teach me about the beauty of costly, extravagant, lavish worship and love. I’m so glad that lavender flowers were used in the Bible as an expression of love for the Savior. I have always loved the scent. The flower has been woven into the fabric of RESTORE ministry since the beginning. We chose lavender for our website. We even chose it as bath salts for the women at our first RESTORE retreat!
God is in the details.
Later that night when I got into bed I pulled out my devotional One Thousand Gifts. I have loved rereading it in the new year. The reading was on the story of the sinful woman in Luke 7 who broke open a costly alabaster jar of perfume and poured it on Jesus feet. It’s a similar story to the one in John and Mark about Mary of Bethany, but takes place earlier in the ministry of Jesus.
In this beautiful story the woman weeps as she wipes Jesus’ feet with her hair. She pours out her love on Jesus. In the Greek the word used is “brecho” which means rains. This woman, out of gratitude and love for Jesus literally rains tears on the Savior. Her love for Him is lavish, costly, extravagant. Like Mary, she is scorned for her display of love. Yet she seems to understand her need for a Savior and disregards the scorn.
Jesus’ love for her is lavish, costly, extravagant. He offers her forgiveness. He offers her His life and her faith saves her (Luke 7:50). Jesus’ love for me, a sinner, is the same. It rains down, breaks open over me.
I put the devotional book down and pray as I go to sleep and tears rain down.
Does my life display that kind of lavish love and gratitude for my Savior?
I wake and as I pray and write it is raining outside.
We are not done with yesterday’s lesson on lavish love...Jesus and me. We will never be done and I’m so grateful.
All day, all week, I ponder this love. The love of these women in Scripture with their extravagant displays poured out on their Savior. Their love for the Savior was bold, intimate, costly. Such different women, in my imagination at least - Mary of Bethany who chose to sit at the feet of Jesus, and the sinful woman who dared to enter the Pharisees’ house and break open the alabaster jar. Jesus loved them both lavishly.
I see myself in both of these women. Surely I have been the sinful woman, needing His forgiveness, raining down my love for Him in grateful tears of repentance. Yet, there have been days when I have chosen to welcome Him into my home and life, to sit at His feet and pour out my love. The account of Jesus anointed at Bethany in John 12:3 says, “...the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.” Mary’s outpouring happened just days before His death. In the same account in Mark 14:6-11 we learn that Jesus rebuked those who scorned her, saying, “She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial.” You see Mary had chosen to sit at his feet. Jesus was often a welcome guest in her home. She had listened to His words of life and seemed to know his death was imminent. She did “a beautiful thing” in the eyes of Jesus. No doubt the fragrance of Mary’s extravagant love lingered with Jesus in his final days before his crucifixion all the way to the cross.
What is the fragrance that lingers in my home today? In yours? Is it the fragrance of Christ? Is it the outpouring of love for Him? Extravagant, lavish love is sometimes costly.
As I ponder the love of these two women for the Lord, I am reminded of the lyrics of the song I sang several weeks ago at church entitled Pour My Love on You by Phillips, Craig and Dean.
I don't know how to say exactly how I feel
I can't begin to tell you what your love has meant
I'm lost for words
Is there a way to show the passion in my heart
Can I express how truly great I think you are
My dearest friend
Lord, this is my desire
To pour my love on You
Like oil upon your feet
Like wine for you to drink
Like water from my heart
I pour my love on you
If praise is like perfume
I'll lavish mine on you
Till every drop is gone
I'll pour my love on you
So this Valentine’s week I have been looking for the “pouring out of love” on the Savior in my life and through the lives of others....like heart water rained down......like oil poured out......broken and spilled out.
“Let me give you a new command: Love one another. In the same way I loved you, you love one another. This is how everyone will recognize that you are my disciples—when they see the love you have for each other.” John 13:34-35
"Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us." 1 John 4:11-12
This is love: a quiet morning filled with prayer and study in the Word
This is love: my husband at the piano in our living room leading a group in worship in “10,000 Reasons”
praise like perfume....lavished on You
This is love: a circle of prayer
This is love: a homeless woman given something to help sustain her
This is love: a listening ear as a grieving friend pours out her heart of pain...tears
This is love: roses on my dining room table and a beautiful card from my beloved
This is love: a friend’s mother dies......a call of comfort is made
This is love: words of encouragement, Valentine cards
This is love: searching for the perfect gift to bless the one you love
This is love: a mission trip to Brazil
This is love: speaking the hard truth in love to a friend
This is love: a meal cooked for one you love after a long day
This is love: slowing down, taking in the wonder of His Creation,
This is love: hearts overflowing with gratitude
This is love: a sister’s offer to help with a need
This is love: a visit to an aging parent...laundry...listening....medicine.....patience....love
This is love: a word of thanks spoken, written
This is love: making homemade journals for the next RESTORE retreat
This is love: families gathered around in support as babies are dedicated to the Lord
This is love: sacrifices of praise poured out at church as hundreds gather to sing songs of faith to The Great I Am
and hear the Word preached
This is love: a hospital visit to one diagnosed with cancer
This is love: a hug, a phone call, a meal shared, a garden tended, a father reaching out to his daughter,
an offer to help.........whatever the need........................
You add to the list. It is the extravagant and the simple things that bring us into a life of pouring out our love on Jesus. How have you seen love poured out on the Savior this week?
"God completes His love in us when we love one another. The only way we can get to the place where we rely on the love God has for us---where we rest in it---is by loving. He calls us, you and me, to be His kiss, His touch, His Word, His embrace, and by doing so to also be assured of His kiss, touch,Word, embrace."
Mark Buchanan, The Holy Wild
As I finish writing there is a fragrance filling my prayer loft. It is the smell of, you guessed it, lavender....a candle is burning that was given to me by my dear friend Sherry at our first RESTORE retreat.
God is in the details.
The scent will always be a reminder to me of extravagant, lavish love.
Lord, thank you that you are drawing me to yourself in every detail of my life. Show me how to lavish my love on you, how to love others ... like expensive, pure “nard” poured out with abandon. May the fragrance of it fill my life and all who know me.
How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. “1 John 3:1
Love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all.
Covered in His lavish love,
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