“You can’t buy happiness,” they used to say. This is a common quote I used to hear when I was growing up. It sounded cool, so mind-blowing to me at that time. Until I saw another poster that said, “Those who say money can’t buy happiness don’t know where to shop.” It made me stop and think. Maybe they’re right. Maybe I haven’t been to a lot of places to know just where to buy happiness.
Fast forward today, some 20-something years later. I could safely say that I have tasted almost everything, seen almost everything, rubbed elbows with the who’s who of Manila, lived a luxurious life, partied in the best scenes in the Metro with the who’s who in the industry, and, safe to say, tasted and dined in the best of cuisines from five-star hotels and best-reviewed restaurants on a regular basis. I had everything I needed, maybe even more. Yet, I felt really empty.
I wondered to myself, what was I missing? I seemed to be a poor little rich girl. It should not be like this. After all, they said, “Those who said money can’t buy happiness don’t know where to shop.” And yet, been here, done that, and there I was, lost and empty.
Luke 7:36-50 – A Woman Washes Jesus’ Feet
Here we see a woman, an immoral woman, meaning a prostitute in those days, washing Jesus’ feet with her own tears. The Bible is silent about why she was crying but we could safely say, she must have been very emotional to do so. After she washed Jesus’ feet with her tears and wiped them with her very own hair, she kissed them. This connotes that she was intimately kissing Jesus’ feet, as if it was the most valuable thing in the world. Then, she used a very expensive perfume to honor him in front of those who were intent on dishonoring him.
This woman, being a prostitute, is one of the outcasts of society and yet, here she was, pouring expensive oil on Jesus’ feet, not caring what other people would think. To her, this Jesus is the most valuable person, worthy of something so costly. What did she see in Jesus that the others didn’t?
This brings me to remember the parable of Jesus in Matthew 13:44-46.
Here Jesus tells a story of a man who found a treasure in a field and sold everything he had to buy that field in which that treasure was buried. Continuing on, Jesus told of another parable about a man who sold everything he had to buy a pearl of great value.
Do you see the parallelism in the stories?
To the woman, Jesus was worth her tears, her hair, her sacrifice, her love, her intimacy, her expensive perfume. Do you know much the alabaster jar is worth in those times? Scholars have estimated it to be a year’s worth of wages by an average worker in those times. These days, that would be around 25,000 British Pounds, or 1.6 Million pesos.* Now THAT is expensive. It would have bought her an SUV to roll on the streets. She poured 1.6 million pesos on Jesus’ feet.
Jesus was her treasure. She found her treasure and she poured everything she had to worship Him, to honor Him in front of those who were finding fault and constantly criticizing Him, despite the truths He was teaching.
The woman was a prostitute, yes, an outcast in society who had no rights, who was looked down on as if she had a scarlet letter on her forehead. And perhaps the way she looked did show what her occupation was. And yet, when she found Jesus, she became a rich little poor girl. She found everything worth all her life savings. She worshipped Him, kissing his feet, wiping them with her tears and her very own hair. She found her treasure and gave up everything for it.
Sometimes, following Jesus seem to others a silly and stupid thing to do. But what if, He peels the veils of your eyes and you see Him to be who He really is. What if, He reveals Himself to you. Would you be willing to be the rich little poor girl instead of being a poor little rich girl? Would you be willing to give Him everything you value to follow Him?