I woke early this morning, sat in the brilliant beautiful sunshine and prayed. When I picked up my journal to write, the following words flowed from my pen. Maybe they will speak to some of you.
Tom and I have committed to taking a river cruise in Europe. We’ve read the brochures, discussed it with friends and are excited about our trip of a lifetime. This week we paid the last and largest installment. Wow!
I am struggling with the extravagance of this holiday. Over my lifetime, I have had only three other holidays that were not connected with visiting family or friends. Each of those were as inexpensive as possible.
This river cruise is totally different. It will be fifteen days of living in “the lap of luxury.” A trip designed for total enjoyment. As always, Tom and I will see and learn new things – but this time do it “first class”.
I feel like I am living the scripture story about the woman pouring expensive perfumed oil on Jesus’ head and feet. I can hear some complain, “What a waste – extravagance. That oil could have been sold and the money used to buy food for the poor.”
Today, those words are marching across my mind. I’m aware that the complainers’ words in this scripture passage have guided a great deal of my thinking over the years. Caring for and sharing with others has always been more important than caring for me. In fact, I believe that is Jesus’ “Way”. Yet, in this particular story, Jesus says, “Leave her alone. She has done something good. I have received a blessing. The poor will always be with you but I will not.” In essence, he says, “Let me receive this luxury, this blessing. (Mark 14:1-6; John 12:1-8)
Today, I’m focusing on Jesus words. The money for this trip has come as a family gift through inheritance. It has not been earned by either of us. We make this journey not because we’ve worked hard and deserve it. We make this journey because it is a blessing of love. Our task is to enjoy, to learn and to know we are valued. We don’t know what the future holds, but for sure we know we are called to be God’s committed servants striving to be the hands and heart of Christ loving the world.
Even Jesus had times apart, times for renewal and times of luxury. I give thanks to God for the love of family that has enabled this wonderful opportunity. May this extravagance equip us to serve God more faithfully every day.