An Act of Gratitude

An Act of Gratitude
Matthew 26:6-13
Deacon George Miller

As a child growing up, there were basic “manners” instilled by my parents. The two main truths were “Please” and “Thank You”. One was to always show appreciation for an act of kindness, to show gratitude to the individual, because they didn’t have to do what they did. (Not to be lost is the possible wrath from my parents if I didn’t acknowledge the kind act, which would have indicated that I wasn’t being raised right! --- you old schoolers know what I’m talking about).

In this devotional, the principle of Thank You parallels an act of Gratitude shown to Jesus who has shown all of us kindness. There are some expressions of gratitude that are difficult to place value on, based on the kindness shown to you. The expression of gratitude shown by the woman, (she was Mary the sister of Martha and Lazarus) meets the criteria of how much is too much?

While the price of the oil she used to anoint Jesus was, in some texts, the equivalent of a year’s salary, her actions showed that the price of the fragrance was irrelevant when compared to the price that Jesus was going to pay on her (and our) behalf. Furthermore, Mary was simply expressing her love for Jesus in the best way she knew how. Contrary to the disciples’ (Judas) mindset who felt the oil could have been sold for money, (keep in mind that Judas, the betrayer, was the keeper of the money bag for the disciples).

In Matthew 26:1-2, Jesus had specifically informed his disciples that he would be crucified during Passover, only two days away. Even though Jesus spoke directly to them, the disciples did not fully understand what Jesus was saying, (example #1 of NO gratitude by them). When Jesus went into the garden to pray before being arrested, these same disciples couldn’t stay awake and watch as Jesus had requested, twice! (Example #2 of no signs of gratitude by them for the price he was about to pay). Gratitude shows thanks for the things you have and the things you're grateful for. It helps you get closer to God by recognizing all the blessings in your life and makes it easier to focus on the positive.

How do we value our gratitude to Jesus or do we? How are we challenged by the expression of gratitude shown by Mary? What value are we willing to give up to show our gratitude to Jesus for the sacrifice he made for us? How much do we value the price he paid for our sins? When we participate in Holy Communion, in spite of the constant reminder by the inscription on the communion table, “This Do In Remembrance of Me’, do we show the level of gratitude we should because of the PRICE Jesus paid for us?

Jesus paid it all, all to him I owe. Sin has left a crimson stain. But he washed it white as snow.

Prayer: Jesus, I thank you for the price you paid for my sin debt through your death, burial and resurrection. I could never repay the debt you paid but continue to use me for your purposes, to live a life that others will be able to see you through me and the life I exhibit to them. Thank you for allowing me to know and tell others that it was the shedding of your blood that we have this opportunity to be of service to you. Please accept my gratitude for what you have done and continue to do for me. Amen!
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