Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Impetuous Living

The queen of England was scheduled to come to America for an official visit. As part of the royal trip, the queen was to visit a local resident'’s home. Her assistants thought that it would be good PR, and an African American woman of middle age was selected. Her name was Mrs. Bolton, and it was she who was to have the privilege of the Queen'’s visit. Mrs. Bolton was very excited just imagining the Queen's visit to her home. She had followed the Queen's life, and could remember her coronation, her wedding, and even when the queen and king had children. Now, the queen would be coming all the way from England to visit her. Of course the Queen should have the best she could offer. Being an excellent cook, Mrs. Bolton set out to create an appetizing meal. She prepared the best "‘soul food"’ she'd ever made. Even her neighbor'’s were saying that her food had never smelled that good.

On the day the queen was to arrive, Mrs. Bolton got ready early, and so did the press, the media, and security personnel. Unfortunately, no one remembered to teach Mrs. Bolton the protocol for receiving a dignitary in one'’s home. So, as you can imagine, disaster was in the making. Upon the queen's arrival at Mrs. Bolton's home, cameras flashed, videos and recorders rolled, and security was tight. The queen, stepping out of her vehicle, began the ascent up the pathway to Mrs. Bolton's home. Upon seeing the queen, Mrs. Bolton moved quickly through her front door, out onto the step, and down the path. In her exuberance, she both embraced and drug the Queen in her home. Reluctantly, the Queen obliged; yet anyone watching could see the discomfort on her face. The Queen's body guards became frantic. This had the unfortunate effect of scaring Mrs. Bolton, and making the Queen even more uncomfortable. Not one of the Queen's entourage was accustomed to a host or hostess behaving in such an impromptu, spontaneous, serendipitous, or impulsive manner. After explanations and apologies were made, calm was restored. Without further ado, the Queen departed from Mrs. BoltonÂ’s home. Mrs. Bolton, despite the faux pas, was excited that the Queen had spent a few minutes in her humble home. The British however, were loathe to let the matter go, and were indignant at the treatment received by their Queen. Accordingly, the Scandal sheets reported the details of the event for weeks.

The scandalous nature of the Queen's treatment sort of reminds me of the story about the woman who anointed Jesus. Her impetuous behaviour was no less a scandal in her day. Let's read the account in Mark chapter 14.

Mark 14:3 And being in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as He sat at meat, there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenard very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on His head.
Mark 14:4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said, Why was this waste of the ointment made?
Mark 14:5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
Mark 14:6 And Jesus said, Let her alone; why trouble ye her? she hath wrought a good work on Me.
Mark 14:7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but Me ye have not always.
Mark 14:8 She hath done what she could: she is come aforehand to anoint My body to the burying.
Mark 14:9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

The heart of Mary of Bethany was a grateful one. She had truly grasped the Gospel as preached by Jesus, which is why she acted as she did. The Lesson calls her actions impetuous. In the Dictionary the word "impetuous" is defined as characterized by undue haste and lack of thought or deliberation. Mary'’s actions indeed may seem impetuous to some, and wasteful, or shameful to others. Yet, Jesus gives evidence that the Holy Spirit was moving her to do as she did. On the basis of Christ's description of her behaviour, its my guess that we can redefine impetuous as He does -- as an adjective describing how Christ loves us, and how we will love one another, as the Holy Spirit moves us. Moved by the Spirit, Mary Magdalene of Bethany gave
away her most precious and costly possession.

So, the question today, comes to us individually: is there room in your life for Spiritual impetuosity? Have you ever been spiritually impetuous? Have you ever been led by the Spirit to live your life not according to the dictates of others, but purely according to His Word, and His prompting? Many of you may say, " I can't do that, it wouldn't be me-- I don't act like that. But, to you I say, "Yes, it is possible to follow His leading and still be yourself." Try it sometime, you may find you like it. I remember a young man that came to a church I was attending. He said, "the Holy Spirit told me to come to your church and play the saxophone for special music today." Although we had seen this young man before, we did not know he played an instrument, so none of us invited him to return and play. Yet in his following the impromptu leading of the Holy Spirit, this young man inspired us to obey. Oh, and the music was wonderful that Sabbath day. In giving his will to the Holy Spirit, that young man gave away his most precious possession -- his ability to play the saxophone. Sometimes we think that the charge to give our all refers to giving up our material possessions. But our most precious possession can be something more abstract and ethereal such as: a special ability or gift, the way we look, our intelligence, our relationships, our influence, etc. In other words, it is something that in giving our hearts to Him, He uses to bless, restore or convert one in need. Its so easy to be impetuous about something we absolutely love. If we truly love Christ, lets allow Him to have His way with us. Who knows what that fragrance wafting on the air will do for another.
Raul Diaz & Maria Greaves-Barnes

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