My dad founded Word of Life, a ministry committed to reaching youth around the world for Christ. Mary and I were invited to a weekend ministering to the students at their Bible Institute in Upstate New York. The purpose of their Founder’s Conference was to remember their history, focus their core values, and then cast a vision for impacting lives in the future. To help the students remember the past they showed an old serial movie clip of my dad’s Yankee Stadium Rally.
On a rainy day in 1948 40,000 came from all over the Northeast and 1100 responded to the invitation to believe in Jesus as their Savior. For the student body born in 1996-97, this event blended in vaguely with the World War II era they studied in high school history. Most of the present student body knows little about the founder of their school. This is reality. Powerful, influential people are quickly forgotten. But there’s a woman who no one would class as a VIP who is remembered from the past. Nineteen hundred and eighty-two years ago she did something for Jesus that will never be forgotten.
“A woman came up to Him with an alabaster flask of very expensive perfume. She poured it on His head while He was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they became indignant, ‘Why this waste? This perfume could have been sold for a lot of money and given to the poor?’” - Matthew 26:9
Practical, moralistic do-gooders always miss the beauty of special moments. If they get control, perfume gets banished. Who needs sweet smells! But before we throw out all the art and aesthetic beauty from our worship of the Savior we better check out His opinion of this supposedly “wasteful” extravagance.
“Jesus knowing their take on the woman’s act said, 'Why are you giving this woman grief? She did a very special thing for me. You will always have the poor with you. You will not always have me. In pouring this perfume on my body, she prepared it for burial. Certainly, wherever this Gospel is proclaimed, in all the world, what she did will be told in her memory.'” - Matthew 26:10-13
So here we are in 2016 on the Tuesday before Good Friday remembering this precious woman and what she did for Jesus. Can’t wait to hug her in heaven and thank her for preparing Jesus for burial even before He was crucified. And what about the continued power of the Gospel Jesus predicted would be preached to the world? Don Lough Jr., the present director of Word of Life, gave the students an update on the present. “If you gathered all those who indicated that they had received Christ through the ministries of Word of Life around the world today, it would fill Yankee Stadium four and a half times.”
LORD, help me to extravagantly act on my love for You like this precious woman who tenderly responded to the grief of your death. And thanks that your story didn’t end with perfume masking the smell of Your death. You are alive, and enable the students I preached to this weekend to proclaim the power of your resurrection even more than Dad or I.
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