In Luke chapter 7 we read of an interesting encounter between the Lord, a Pharisee named Simon and a nameless woman. Simon invites Jesus to dinner in his home and when they sit down to eat a woman enters weeping. She washes the Lords feet with her tears and anoints them with oils. Simon wonders at this man who would allow a sinner to wash his feet. The Lord, perceiving Simon’s thoughts, offers a parable:
There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most?
Simon answered and said, I suppose that he, to whom he forgave most. And he said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged. And he turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, Seest thou this woman? I entered into thine house, thou gavest me no water for my feet: but she hath washed my feet with tears, and wiped them with the hairs of her head.
Thou gavest me no kiss: but this woman since the time I came in hath not ceased to kiss my feet. My head with oil thou didst not anoint: but this woman hath anointed my feet with ointment.
Wherefore I say unto thee, Her sins, which are many, are forgiven; for she loved much: but to whom little is forgiven, the same loveth little.
Luke 7: 41-47
I think there are several lessons to take from this encounter. There is the example of this woman who served the Lord in humility. We may not have the opportunity to serve him directly like this woman but He has said: “Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” Matthew 25: 40. So each act of service we render is a tear and ointment for the feet of the Lord.
But this is not the lesson that strikes me most when I ponder this encounter. There is a difference in attitude expressed by the Lord and Simon that is worth note. Had this woman sought to perform a kindness for Simon he would have turned her away. The saviour in contrast, the greatest man to ever live, submitted to her touch and her love.
I wonder, have there been moments in my life where someone has sought to do me a kindness and I acted more the part of Simon than Christ? Have I said within myself “I can do this myself I don’t need help from him or her or you?” Have I thought “oh no thats okay your help in this would be awkward, you’d just be in the way.” Has my pride turned away the “sinner” that sought to do me a kindness?
A few years ago after a particularly heavy snowfall a man came to my door. He asked if he could shovel my driveway for a modest fee, of course. I thought “umm no I don’t need help I can shovel my driveway perfectly fine myself; I’m not so sure about this fellow he probably won’t shovel it the way I like it.” I sent him away. I know that he was looking for a job and its not quite the same as these verses illustrate. Yet, as soon as the man left I felt terrible. I could have easily paid him for the service. It wasn’t the money it was my pride that turned that man away from my door. I can still see him trudging off through the snow to the next home. Its a simple thing, a chance encounter maybe, but I failed that day.