Summary: This sermon is about how we need to tell our loved ones what they mean to us while they are still with us.
A TOUCH OF LOVE
Text: John 12:1-8
One of the songs of my list of favorites would have to be James Taylor’s "Shower The People". One of the reasons that I love that song apart from its pretty melody is its message. It talks about showering the people that we love with flowers. Later, in the song, toward the end it says make it rain. The song is about telling those that you love how you feel when they can hear it. It is sad to see friends and family gathered at a funeral home to pay their respects to the deceased person. There are times when some of those flowers should have been given while the person was still living. We sometimes take people for granted. I cannot help but to wonder how many of those flowers the deceased might have enjoyed while they were living. The flowers do not always have to be actual flowers. The flowers might be an “I love you.” It might be a card, a letter or even a compliment. The point that I am trying to get at is that we should tell our loved ones what they mean to us while they are with us.
Years ago, when I was a student pastor, one of my members really caught me off guard. One night after Bible study, she stopped me on the front steps of the church and said, “I want to give you some flowers”. I was puzzled because I did not see any flowers. Of course, she was not talking about real flowers. She was talking about telling me how she felt about me. She wanted me to know how much I had meant to her because it was not long before I was going to go to another appointment (church). It was all I could do to choke back the tears. Why? Because her flowers---her expression of love was genuine and from the heart. I have never forgotten the flowers that elderly widow by the name of Vernie Stokes gave me. I still treasure the flowers of her compliment even to this day, some 8 years later.
When Mary used that pint of expensive perfume on Jesus, she was not worried about how much it cost. What Mary was doing was giving Jesus His flowers while He was still here.
One of the things that Mary was doing was expressing her gratitude. Her brother Lazarus who was dead (John 11) was brought back to life by Jesus who was and is the resurrection and the life. There can be doubt that Mary was grateful for what Jesus had done for her and Martha in bringing back Lazarus from the dead.
Mary’s gratitude was priceless. Mary was not concerned about how much the perfume cost. She wanted to express her gratitude and devotion to Jesus. Her gratitude was priceless because what Mary did had come from the heart. What Mary was doing was a blessing that was priceless. She knew that Jesus would not always be there.
I read a story about a missionary surgeon who once stopped to see one of the ladies in the village that he had once operated on. The lady and her husband were dirt poor. Their source of income was reliant upon their livestock. They had an angora rabbit and two chickens. The woman would often comb the rabbit, take is hair and spin it into yarn which she would sell to make a little money. The chickens provided the eggs that they would eat for food. Anyway, this woman insisted that the missionary stay for lunch. He accepted the invitation. He was not gone for more than an hour and a half, while he went to check on another one of his postopeartive patients. When he returned he peeped into the cooking pot to see what was for lunch. In the pot he saw a rabbit and two chickens. This woman had given up both her income and her only source for food. She had given up everything. He was so touched that he wept.
The Canadian minister who tells this story the Rev. Dr. Victor Shepherd, also told about the occasion in which he heard this story. The missionary was speaking to some university students about his work in the Gaza Strip. He told his audience that they were North American “fat cats” who knew nothing about gratitude. It was then that the missionary told this story. (John K. Bergland. Abingdon Preacher’s Annual 1992. Rev. Dr. Victor Shepherd. “What Price Gratitude?”. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1991, p. 122).
In contrast to Mary and her sentiments, there was Judas, the disciple that would later betray Jesus. Judas was focusing on the cost of the perfume and not the meaning of the act of humility. Where Mary was expressing her devotion to Jesus, Judas was revealing who he was. Judas was hung up on cost. Sometimes we are like that. Sometimes we get hung up on cost. Sometimes we misplace and displace the value of things.