Much Forgiveness, Much Love
Open Your Bible
Luke 7:1-50, 1 Kings 17:17-24, Psalm 23:1-6
This year, as part of our celebratory Christmas decorations, we set up a fantastic black-and-cream toy train under the tree. Once a day, I would let the kids play with it for a few minutes. They would sit on their tiny knees, leaning forward and exclaiming while the train made its allotted brave journey around the tree several times. Then I’d remind them to turn it off and move on with their day.
One of my best friends laughed at me for this, saying, “You’re limiting their Christmas magic so you don’t have to spend money on replacement batteries?!” Yeah, I guess I do tend to be a little parsimonious when it comes to… well, everything. Some of us are miserly with our resources. Maybe you are a bit freer with your spending; we’re all different. But if I had an alabaster jar filled with perfume I would reluctantly parse it out over many years, and I’d be hard-pressed to slop it all out in one afternoon over a stranger.
Whether you are free or tight with resources, it’s important to know when it’s time to set aside your personal inclinations. Otherwise, we are like the Pharisee who invited Jesus to his house but held back on the hospitality. If the Pharisee had realized Who was sitting at his table, and what debt of gratitude he owed Him, would he have been so close-fisted in his actions? And centuries later, knowing Jesus’s purpose and intent, would we have washed His feet and offered Him a kiss? Unless we are aware of our great debt of love, it’s hard to remember who we are and what we are called to do.
When we realize how much we have received—how much we have been forgiven—then everything comes into perspective. We too often hold back pieces of our lives for ourselves, because we fail to see how greatly we have been forgiven. If we were to comprehend the full abundance of God’s forgiveness, how could we hold back anything from Him? In Him we have received all things, beyond what we could ask or imagine.
Like the woman in Luke 7, we who have been forgiven much can appreciate the depth of Christ’s love. The more we see our need of Him, the more opportunity we have for gratefulness and love for His deep forgiveness. He doesn’t speak of the woman’s shame, only of her love.
In John’s vision of heaven, the twenty-four elders cast their crowns at the feet of Christ, crying out: “Our Lord and God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power!” (Revelation 4:11). Everything changes because of who Christ is. By His sacrifice, He has given us abundant forgiveness and overwhelming love. He calls us to live our lives in thankfulness—and when we remember who He is and what He has done, how can we keep from falling at His feet in grateful love?