Why do you give people presents? I think I give someone a meaningful gift when they’ve impacted my life and I want to show my appreciation. Jesus had a huge impact on the family of His friend Lazarus. Lazarus had been so ill, it resulted in death, but that wasn’t the end of the story. Jesus came to the graveside and called him out, effectively breathing life back into him. Lazarus struggled out of the grave because he was wrapped up, as they would wrap a dead body for burial, and Jesus ordered them to loose the grave clothes and let him go (John 11:44). Imagine how his two sisters must have felt! Naturally speaking, death was the last straw. There was no coming back from that, but here was their brother raised from the dead, and here was an opportunity to thank Jesus. They held a dinner in His honour. Lazarus ate with Him and Martha prepared the food, but Mary went above and beyond (John 12:1-7). She took a pound (a Roman pound is twelve ounces) of very expensive perfume and poured it on Jesus’ feet. At that time, it was customary for the host of a dinner to put oil on the guests’ heads to welcome them, but pouring that much perfume over someone’s feet? So its fragrance filled the whole house? In Michael Card’s book “John: The Gospel of Wisdom”, he says the thirty pieces of silver Judas Iscariot got for betraying Jesus were worth about three thousand dollars, whereas this perfume Mary poured was worth thirty thousand dollars – ten times as much! People thought Mary was extravagant, but nothing was too good for Jesus. Her brother was alive! How could she ever thank Him enough?
When I search my life for a woman who’s extravagantly generous to me, it has to be my mum. I haven’t given birth to a child, so I can’t really comprehend a mother’s love except by looking at her. If anything could be done to help her family, she would do it. She doesn’t want to keep what she has for herself, but would gladly give it to us if we’d take it. I find it difficult to receive that kind of generosity, but I like the heart behind it and hope I have that same heart for others.
* * *
I hope you’ve got people in your life who are examples of the love-languages. If not, maybe you can pray and ask God to bring them to you. I’m certain He loves us in all of these ways, and we’re here on earth to show that love to each other.