A Season of Thanks-Giving
Wednesday, November 08, 2006
One of the Pharisees asked Jesus to dine with him, and He went into the Pharisee's house and reclined at table. And behold, a woman of the town who was an especially wicked sinner, when she learned that He was reclining at table in the Pharisee's house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment (perfume). And standing behind Him at His feet weeping, she began to wet His feet with [her] tears; and she wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed His feet [affectionately] and anointed them with the ointment (perfume). Now when the Pharisee who had invited Him saw it, he said to himself, If this Man were a prophet, He would surely know who and what sort of woman this is who is touching Him--for she is a notorious sinner (a social outcast, devoted to sin). And Jesus, replying, said to him, Simon, I have something to say to you. And he answered, Teacher, say it. A certain lender of money [at interest] had two debtors: one owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. When they had no means of paying, he freely forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more? Simon answered, The one, I take it, for whom he forgave and cancelled more. And Jesus said to him, You have decided correctly. Then turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, Do you see this woman? When I came into your house, you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. You gave Me no kiss, but she from the moment I came in has not ceased [intermittently] to kiss My feet tenderly and caressingly. You did not anoint My head with [cheap, ordinary] oil, but she has anointed My feet with [costly, rare] perfume. Therefore I tell you, her sins, many [as they are], are forgiven her--because she has loved much. But he who is forgiven little loves little. And He said to her, Your sins are forgiven! Then those who were at table with Him began to say among themselves, Who is this Who even forgives sins? But Jesus said to the woman, Your faith has saved you; go (enter) into peace [in freedom from all the distresses that are experienced as the result of sin]. Luke 7:36-50 AMP
In this story, we can see that a person's giving is directly tied in to their appreciation and their thankfulness. Jesus uses the word "love"—those who are forgiven much, love much. This woman recognized Jesus as a Man sent from God. She was humble enough to realize how much she owed Jesus. She must have known of His reputation as One who forgives sin. She must have come to Him, with her offering, to throw herself on His mercy. She thought nothing of bringing the best that she had and pouring ALL of it out on Jesus. Her offering represented all of her heart, her love, her hopes, her dreams, and her absolute trust. When we give ALL of ourselves to Jesus—He gives ALL of Himself to us!
In contrast, Simon did not see Jesus like this woman saw Jesus. He did not think Jesus worthy of such honor. He did not realize how much he too needed Jesus' forgiveness—for ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Rom 3:23). Simon did not wash Jesus' feet when He arrived at his house, as was customary—he did not even use any cheap, ordinary oil on Jesus. He offered Jesus nothing, and yet, when this woman came in to pour her precious perfume on Jesus, all Simon did was judge her in his heart because she was a known sinner.
Two men went up into the temple [enclosure] to pray, the one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee took his stand ostentatiously and began to pray thus before and with himself: God, I thank You that I am not like the rest of men--extortioners (robbers), swindlers [unrighteous in heart and life], adulterers--or even like this tax collector here. I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I gain. But the tax collector, [merely] standing at a distance, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but kept striking his breast, saying, O God, be favorable (be gracious, be merciful) to me, the especially wicked sinner that I am! I tell you, this man went down to his home justified (forgiven and made upright and in right standing with God), rather than the other man; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.
Luke 18:10-14 AMP
We must not be like Simon or like this Pharisee. If we want God's blessing, His favor and His forgiveness on a daily basis, then on a daily basis we need to humble ourselves before Him, without judging others, and realize just how much WE owe Jesus. Thanksgiving is not the only season for being thankful—that may be the only time the world stops and thinks about what they have to be thankful for. However, if you are a Christian you have a reason to be especially thankful to God and to show your thankfulness and your gratefulness to Him every day that you live!
When we remember how much we owe Jesus, then we might remember to show Him our appreciation in our giving—not our cheap ordinary giving, but the BEST we have! You might say, "Well I might be able to do what that woman did for Jesus if He was here right now, but He isn't here!" Jesus says to you that whatever you do for the least of His brethren, you have done it for Him! Let's give to say "thank you" and let's show our thanks by our giving!