This story has absolutely nothing to do with a poem by Rudyard Kipling or a war movie that was released in 1998. But, it has everything to do with eternity……..
About 17 years ago, my wife and I had a Mexican woman named Patty who was working for us at the cabinet shop. She came to us one May with tears in her eyes because she needed to quit so that she could watch her kids for the summer while they were out of school. After a little discussion, Jane and I came up with a solution: why don’t we hire Patty to stay at our house during the day? She could bring her kids and at the same time keep an eye on our children; that way Jane could spend more time working at the shop and it would help a mother in need.
Patty was pleased with the idea so we gave it a go. Patty also agreed to cook some meals and clean house while she was there. Gold star from me!! At the time, Patty had three children, the youngest named Tony who was about four. We called him Tony the Tiger because he was …………well, ……Tony, a full ball of energy with no “off” switch.
Our house is a simple wood framed two-story affair, nothing austere about it. It has plenty of space but not a lot of frills. The walls were, and still are, painted an off white color.
One day, Tony was playing with crayons……………………………… need I say more?
I could probably stop here and you would guess the rest of the story.
Tony grabbed a red one and began running through the house, holding the crayon against the wall at his four-year old height. He went through the living room, up the stairs, down the hall, down the stairs again, through the kitchen, etc. He left a nice bright red line at about 24″ from the floor on virtually every available wall space. His mother was horrified, appalled, and embarrassed………. We just laughed. We tried to convince her that it was okay but Patty felt it necessary to scrub the crayon off every wall.
So, of all the things that could be implanted in my memory, why this? Why this particular little story? It’s not especially funny; it has no punch line to make you grab your head and say, “Wow, I never thought of that!”
13 Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”
(You need to read the whole story to understand where I’m heading. You can click on the verse link.)
When the woman in this story brought a bottle of perfume to a dinner party and proceeded to empty it on the head of a traveling orator / magician, (Jesus), she had no idea of the impact of her actions. She wasn’t thinking about what other people at the party would say; she wasn’t thinking that someone might record her with their cell phone and paste it on Facebook; she wasn’t thinking that she would go down in history for what she was about to do.
photo courtesy of The Baidun Shop
In the story, we’re not given her name, or her background, or her future, or even really why she did what she did. All we know about her is this particular moment in time. Yet Jesus made her famous; he announced that she would be remembered forever. Why?
Because her expression of love was unique; she did something that had never been done. She spent what was the equivalent of a year’s wages in one instant by pouring it on the head of the Son of God. Some suggest that the oil could have been her wedding dowry. Whatever the case, it was worth a lot of money and to use it all up at one time was uncommon and extravagant.
Come on, be perfectly honest. Would you blow an entire year’s income on one meal? Or maybe one concert? Or one bottle of wine? No! None of us would even think twice about it! It would never occur to me, even in our society of luxury and wealth, to be so extravagant with my money.
But there it is ………. a thin red line in scripture……… something seemingly insignificant that became eternally valuable and remembered forever.
I tell both of these stories to say, you never know; you just never know…… how simple, insignificant actions can impact the lives of other people. It doesn’t take an IQ like that of Leonardo da Vinci or Albert Einstein to change the direction of humanity. All it takes is a red crayon or a bottle of perfume and a willing heart to make a difference.
I raise the mug today and say – Go out into the world and make an impact! Never doubt that today you could be the one to change the world!
All verse quotes courtesy of biblegateway.com