Jesus values what I have in my heart to give

Jesus values what I have in my heart to give.
Practicing extravagant hospitality in a just-so-extra world.

“Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial.”
—Matthew 26:6-13

Have you heard the term just so extra? My team and I joke about it all the time. We call our ideas just so extra. Finding creative ways to one-up the next episode and give you the greatest viewing experience.

If anyone is just so extra, it’s my friend Nantas. He is the owner of Casa Mia and CM2 Pizerria and Bake Shop in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. He knows how to add his special touch to everything.

Recently, I took a trip to his restaurant. We spent the morning cooking-up classical Neapolitan dishes from the region of Campana. That evening, we hosted a dinner party for his Italian friends.

Like everything we do on the set of It’s a Beautiful Bite, it was a just-so-extra dinner party. Each guest had their own place card. The napkins were wrapped a special way. We added rosemary sprigs and jute bows to give the tablescape that superior touch. It’s the way I like to celebrate my guests.

However, we live in a culture where cynicism is the loudest voice. It labels thoughtfulness as unnecessary waste and extravagant hospitality as “just so extra.”

Preparing this dinner party reminded me of how Jesus responded to this cynicism in his day. While reclining at a dinner party with friends, Mary the sister of Lazarus approached Jesus. Carrying with her an alabaster box, she broke it and poured the fragrance over Him.

The perfume was very costly. But Mary gave it away. As much as she valued her most prized possession, she valued Jesus more. Pouring the perfume over him was an extravagant gesture of gratitude.

Some people at that dinner party thought it was a waste. Why give this much to Jesus when there were other important needs?

But Jesus said her gift was worth it. Because only a couple days later, He would go to the cross. Her gift was part of God’s plan. It showed the greatest honor to a God who would give it all up for her.

There are two things I’ve learned about extravagant hospitality:

  1. Extravagant hospitality is an investment into a person’s future. You never know what challenges a person faces. They may look like they have it all together on the outside, but they are struggling internally. Your gift might be what they need to keep moving forward. We don’t know if Mary was aware of the pain, rejection, and death Jesus was about to endure. But Jesus knew. And Jesus said that her gesture prepared Him to accomplish His assignment. Mary sacrificed for Jesus, and her sacrifice was an investment in us all.
  2. Extravagant hospitality is a picture of the cross. When Jesus went to the cross, he practiced extravagant hospitality. Because of man’s decision to sin, we were eternally separated from God. We would never find a home in Him. But because of God’s great love, He sent Jesus to pay the price for our sin, and invite us into relationship with Him. He sacrificed so we would have a home.

It was unearned and undeserved. It was an overpayment for our sins. It was just so extra. But God did it anyway.
When we take what we have and give it to others, we reflect the attitude Jesus carried while on the cross.

You can give people your best. You can spend extra time preparing the places and spaces where they will savor your food and enjoy their life. It’s not a waste. It’s not carelessness.

What you have to give in your heart matters to Jesus. It may be costly, but He sees it as beautiful.

I want to hear from you! Share your #JesusMoments in the comments, below.

How has God used your extravagant hospitality to bless others?

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