In Luke 7:36-50 a woman who is simply identified as a “sinner” takes expensive perfume and pours it over Jesus feet and washes them with her hair and tears. This is not the only place in the Bible that we see a display like this, but this instance is the one that I was meditating on today as I made breakfast for my kids, fed the dogs, and did all the little tasks that make up my mornings.
In the biblical account the others present express concerns about the woman’s sinful history and the cost of the perfume. But it wasn’t really about how expensive it was, it was about the fact that it was everything she had to give, and that she, with her checkered past and questionable moral standing, approached Jesus and poured out what she could to bless him.
All that’s required of us is everything we have, no more, no less.
It’s fairly easy to understand the concept of giving no less than everything we have. If you have talents, treasures, time etc. that you haven’t released to God, in the time the Holy Spirit will convict you of that and help you to recognize it. But for me, the greater challenge is the concept that we aren’t required to give more than everything we have.
It can be difficult to see others around us who have different talents, greater resources, more free time, better health, giving lavishly in ways that we are not able to give. It can make our offerings feel small and useless, not enough. When your neighbor is dropping hundreds into the offering plate, it’s easy to feel ashamed of the 10 cents you have to offer. But friend, all you have is all that’s required.
Faith without works is dead. But great works are not the measure of great faith. Rather, I believe are the ordinary everyday things that we do with the last ounce of strength, fortitude or resilience, when all we want to do is quit. Those things are the measure of great faith.