“Then He turned to the woman and said to Simon, ‘Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.’ Then He said to her, ‘Your sins are forgiven’ ” (Luke 7:44–48).
IF THERE’S ONE THING THAT IS OBVIOUS ABOUT LOVE, IT’S THAT LOVE WANTS TO SHOW ITSELF. Love (that is, real love) is active. Like a healthy toddler, it can’t sit still for very long. It always wants to be doing something, preferably to act out its desires.
Like faith, love is not only active, it’s willing to take significant risks. The woman in Luke 7, whose love led her to anoint the Lord’s feet with expensive oil, risked several things to show her love. For one thing, she accepted the risk of real loss. The ointment was costly, but wanting to show her love, she was willing to make a sacrifice (suffer an actual, couldn’t-afford-it loss) to do so. But second, she accepted the risk of the disapproval of others. To show her love for the Lord, she pushed past the “respectable” crowd and did something that incurred criticism from those, like Simon, who loved the Lord with nothing more than an official love.
Today, we need to be careful, but we also need to be brave. Love doesn’t give us the right to do anything we please in showing our love for the Lord. We know nothing about what pleases Him except what He has revealed to us in His word, and we dare not disregard the Scriptures in deciding how to show our love. But that said, it’s important for us to be courageous in the desires of our love. All the scriptural correctness in the world will not accomplish anything if it is not carried out in active love.
“The loving are the daring” (Bayard Taylor). Our lives and our relationship with God would be richer if we loved Him more deeply, dreamed of showing our love more extravagantly, and then demonstrated our faith more boldly and bravely. It’s time we got over our fears: our fear of being hurt and our fear that others will think we’re crazy. What if the woman in Luke 7 had stifled her desire and done the “sensible” thing? Well, the world — and certainly the Lord’s cause — would have been much the poorer.
“Have the courage of your desire” (George Gissing).