Wasteful love is better than justice!

Critics are all over the place. I am sure you have met people who can tell you how to do things better than what you have done. Here is a nice story that tells volumes on them.
While traveling separately through the countryside late one afternoon a Hindu, a Rabbi, and a Critic were caught in a terrific thunderstorm.  They sought shelter at a nearby farmhouse.
“That storm will be raging for hours.”  The farmer told them. “You ought to spend the night. The problem is there is only room for two in the house. One of you must sleep in the barn.”
“I’ll be the one said the Hindu, a little hardship is nothing to me.” And he went to the barn.
A few minutes later there was a knock at the door. It was the Hindu. “I’m sorry he said to the others, but there is a cow in the barn. Cows are sacred creatures and I cannot impose.”
“Don’t worry said the Rabbi, make yourself comfortable. I will go sleep in the barn”
A few minutes later there was another knock at the door.  It was the Rabbi.  “I hate to be a bother,” he said, “but there is a pig in the barn. In my religion pigs are unclean, I wouldn’t feel comfortable sleeping near a pig.”
“Oh, all right said the Critic, “I’ll go sleep in the barn.”
A few minutes later there was a knock at the door.  It was the pig and the cow. (Benjamin Hoff, The Te of Piglet)
Pastor Victor Shepherd told a story to his congregation one day. He met a missionary surgeon who was kind of gruff and tough when he spoke things. One day while he was talking to a group of University Students about his missionary work in the Gaza Strip. He said, “we the North American ‘fat cats’ knew nothing about gratitude”. Those who had gathered there were amazed to hear his ‘outrageous comment’ about our great people and nation. To their question he said this story. One day was visiting one of his poor and old patients on whom he had performed surgery. These poor people did not have a whole lot to live on and work for. They had two chickens and an Angora rabbit. The lady on whom the doctor performed his surgery, combed the hair of the rabbit and made a yarn of pure rabbit wool and sold it. They ate the vegetable they grew  in their yard and ate chicken eggs. The woman excited about the visit of the doctor who gave her a future, insisted that he eat with them. The doctor was pleased and he agreed. However he had to make another post-operation visit to someone not too far from them. He returned after the visit. As he approached the house he knew from the wonderful smell that there is some great food in the oven. He got into the kitchen with the old lady and lifted the lid up and found the chickens and the rabbit being cooked away. [1]
When I first read the story I thought to myself would anyone do that for real? Then I remembered my own childhood and how my mother used to do the same thing.

I came from a poor family according to the US standards. We did not have a whole lot and did not grow up with modern conveniences. My mother who was a school teacher, and my father who was a businessman, without a good sense of business together did not bring in a whole lot. I never starved, but older brothers and mother did. We used to grow chickens for eggs. But when the priest from our parish came, or a guest visited us, we used to have a discussion as how to find good food to feed them and show them how pleased and excited we were. Then we will turn to our one or two chickens and kill it for the feast. We hardly got much of anything from the chicken as guests ate it and my mother stood at the table first feeding the guest and what was left over to us. That is how I developed a taste for chicken livers, because that is the only thing I got as with great love my mother would fry it for me before the guests ate and I was special.

We have a similar story here. The story of the woman at the feet of Jesus who is now pouring out all that pricy perfume.

There are similar stories in the bible that speaks of gratitude in such powerful terms. We speak of pledge and tithe and all kinds of financial and other contributions to the church. If they don’t represent the gratitude in us for all the blessings we have from God, then it is not worth it. And if that is all the gratitude we have for God, then it is not worth it either.

The fragrance of gratitude is greater than the best old spice, and Olay put together, deodorants and perfumes. The power of the fragrance of love lasts long after we are gone.

Speaking of the power of love and gratitude I like to share with you a facebook note I read on All Saints’ Fan Page here. “I am a fan of this church. A church full of loving “Christian” people. A church that loves people unconditionally, as did Jesus.” I hope so and I pray that we all feel the same about our church and the places we work and the people who work with us and live with us.

“Gratitude is born in hearts that take time to count up past mercies”. (Charles E. Jefferson.) We all have enough reason to be grateful towards everyone around us and of course God.

I have a beautiful prayer that I stole from the prayer book of Mother Theresa. It is called Radiating Christ. We will learn how to radiate Christ as we pray this together. Please join me.  

Dear Jesus help us to spread your fragrance everywhere we go. Flood our souls with your spirit and life. Penetrate and possess our whole being, so utterly, that our lives may only be a radiance of yours. Shine through us, and be so in us, that every soul we come in contact with may feel your presence in our soul. Let them look up and see no longer us but only Jesus. Stay with us, and then we shall begin to shine as you shine; so to shine as to be a light to others; the light of Jesus, will be all from you, none of it will be ours., it will be you, shining on others through us. Let us thus praise you in the way you love best by shining on those around us. Let us preach you without preaching, not by words but by our example. By the catching force, the sympathetic influence of what we do, the evident fullness of the love our hearts bears to you. Amen.

My dear brothers and sisters, gratitude is an attitude of life. There is every reason out there not to be grateful, justice being the most used. When we search deeper we will find that grace given to us without preconditions. Being wasteful in love is better than just in this world. For all of us benefited from wasteful love than justice.


[1] Victor Shepherd, Preacher’s Annual 1992, Nashville: Abingdon p. 122.

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