Daily Devotionals

Spilled Perfume

Daniel Bramlett,
First Baptist Church
of Hope, AR

I lost a friend this week. That doesn’t mean she is wandering around in the woods somewhere and we don’t know where she is. We know exactly where Wanda Collins is. When I say I lost her, I mean that I can’t see her right now. She is in Heaven and I am not and that makes me sad.

If you didn’t know Wanda you might think she was a little senile in her old age. She was always so happy, some might say giddy. She held on to Del (and him to her!) like a 16 year old girl! But this wasn’t senility at all! She was one of the most genuinely happy people I know! She was full of joy. This didn’t mean she didn’t carry a lot of sorrow. She was also quick to cry. All this means is that Wanda loved much. Her life was filled with the deep love of the Savior and it overflowed into every single relationship God gave her. I was a product of the love she offered.

Wanda was 90 years old. Some say by the time you reach 90 you’ve offered about all you have to give the world. That simply is not true. My friend worked alongside the best and youngest of us every day! She is living proof that expiration is something we see on the milk jug, not an internal clock slowly winding down. Her days were full and friends were many.

How can this be true? Surely most of those she held close were already gone. This is true because she embraced every age, every skin color and every culture. If you were breathing, she would hug you, tell you about Jesus and pray for you before she let you go! She was not one to let grass grow under her feet.

I want to live every day with the determination and grace of my friend. I don’t think this means we have to live each day as if it’s our last. I’m not talking about hurrying everywhere we go or a bucket list that we have to complete. I’m talking about intentional living. This is the person who gets up every day with their eyes on Jesus and their feet set on His path. They are not perfect. They make mistakes, but they refuse to take their eyes off Jesus. Their mistakes only give more opportunity to talk about His grace. Their weakness only displays His power. And when they shine, oh their light is His life in them!

This is not the kind of joy we find on the street. It isn’t something we’re born with or something we inherit. The life that shines this brightly with the Light of Christ is something that can only be found in Him. A sufficient or successful life by itself will not know this joy. The life filled with achievements only will not know this joy. Only the life that is as Paul says hid with Christ in God. That new life may have great achievements, exciting success and profound skill…but none of this will come close to comparing with the joy they know in Christ. That will be the mark the defines them. That will be how they are known. I want to live with that kind of joy.

Mary, Lazarus’ sister, knew this kind of quiet joy. She was the one who interrupted the celebration of her brother’s new lease on life and anointed Jesus’ feet with oil, wiping them with her hair. She is the one we find sitting at the feet of Jesus listening and learning when all the rest of the house is bustling with activity. Mary knew that to be near Jesus meant life and joy for her. Like the fragrance that filled the house that day, Mary’s life affected everyone she knew. She poured out more than that jar of perfume when she met Jesus. She poured out her life.

My friend Wanda did the same.

Back to top button