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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Gifts (of the Spirit or service) (11/22/07)

TITLE: Fragrant Gifts
By LauraLee Shaw


“Six days before the Passover, Jesus arrived at Bethany…Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor…
Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume;
she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped His feet with her hair.
And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.”

John 12:1-3

Talk about your extravagant gift! How I would love to be in Mary’s skin during this act of worship to Jesus, to be able to express my love for Him in person so elaborately. I can only daydream!

I wonder, though. Would I really have traded places with her? She poured a perfume worth a year’s wages on His head. Then she proceeded to coat His feet with it in front of all those people—with her hair! Would I have shown Jesus I adore Him with that much abandon?

The most precious thing I have to offer Him is myself. The gifts that came first from His hand--my spiritual gifts--are as valuable as that fine perfume if they are offered from a pure and humble heart. After all, using them is my “spiritual act of worship.”

Yet I miss the point of this more often than not. I’ve been guilty of leaving my “bottle of perfume” on the shelf, afraid of what others will think of its scent. Fear, Insecurity and Laziness are familiar culprits of my flesh that work to give my gifts a long shelf life.

Of course, I am also guilty sometimes of spraying it on only when I can assure it will smell good to others. In the name of peace, I don’t want to offend anyone. Or worse, I might be ridiculed.

The worst mistake of all is when I use my spiritual gifts to my own benefit. I saturate myself in them so that others cannot help but be attracted to the “Good Smell Contest Winner"—ME! “Hi, Mom!”

Each day, I have opportunities to use the gifts God has given me, and each day, I make a choice. When I turn to the Word, it stirs my soul to live the Mary way.

I have no excuse to be lazy when I read, “Do not neglect your gift,” and “fan into flame the gift of God.” Clearly, I am to exercise my spiritual gift muscles in order to strengthen the Body of Christ as a whole.

And how can I use my gifts only when it feels good, knowing that God did not give me “a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline”? Did Mary run away when Judas rebuked her?

Furthermore, when I scream out “Look at me! See how great I am with my precious gift,” have I forgotten Who gave it to me in the first place? Even if I replace the exclamation point with a period or a question mark, I am totally missing the mark that Mary left behind as an example. She showed that gifts are given so that Jesus will smell good to others.

Am I alone in my struggle, or can you relate? The admonishments in Scripture are for each of us as believers. “The end of all things is near,” we are reminded. Shouldn’t that lead us to use our spiritual giftedness for the glory of Jesus Christ?

If the Holy Spirit has gifted us with hospitality, we should do so without prejudice and "without grumbling." Our wide open doors will hopefully lead to wide open hearts for Christ.

If we are led to encourage, instead of crossing the line to flattery, we should do it as “one speaking the very words of God.” Our deliberate words will hopefully lead toward decisions for Christ.

If and when any of us serve with WHATEVER gift He has given us, we “should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.”

Let’s break open our valuable jars today and fill the room with His aroma--in humility, in authenticity—with no duplicity of heart or mind, fully knowing that it is “Christ in us” who can accomplish great and mighty things according to His will.

“But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of Him.”
2 Corinthians 2:14

To HIM be the glory and the power forever. Amen.

NIV Scripture references: Romans 12, 1st Timothy 4, 2nd Timothy 1, 1st Peter 4

The opinions expressed by authors may not necessarily reflect the opinion of FaithWriters.com.
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This article has been read 1058 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Jan Ackerson 11/29/07
Very good meditation on both Scripture and on your own spiritual gifts.

In the italicized Scriptures, you don't need the quotation marks, too.

I really appreciated your spirit in this well-written piece.
Tim Pickl11/29/07
This is a wonderfully written, honest piece: in its entirety, it encourages the reader to use the gift(s) God has given to each one of us. If you can pray, pray without ceasing! If you can lead children in worship, do it! If you can write: write for the Lord!
Laury Hubrich 12/01/07
Very good writing. This piece is very encouraging to find and use your gifts for God's glory.
william price12/03/07
I love reading the heart of a fiathwriter. Great work. God bless.
Dee Yoder 12/03/07
I always appreciate your honest and interesting devotionals. This one is a good one with it's illustration of the sweet perfume of our gifts!
Shelley Ledfors 12/03/07
Wonderful thoughts. I love the way you related the scripture to your personal experience. I can certainly relate to your thoughts as well.
Patty Wysong12/03/07
What a great devotional! Your writing was crystal clear and kept me reading--making me think all the way through. Great job --and great thoughts! (thank you! I needed to hear that.) Hugs!
Joy Faire Stewart12/03/07
Very thoughtful writing with a wonderful message.
Yvonne Blake 12/04/07
This touched me! It's so true, so convicting! We want others to notice us, praise us. Well written!
Temple Miller12/04/07
Loved the message - and the writing.
Joanne Sher 12/04/07
This is VERY good - and convicting. Excellent, my dear friend!
Verna Cole Mitchell 12/04/07
This is a wonderful devotional. I love the way you extended the comparison to the perfume all the way to the end. Excellent writing.
Sara Harricharan 12/05/07
This is encouraging. I like the comparison with the bottle of perfume. I never thought of it this way, thanks for sharing this piece!
LaNaye Perkins12/05/07
I really like how you took scripture and made a great devotional piece from it. You did a really good job with this.