. . . and then some more . . . More life. More Jesus.

The Gifts He Keeps For Always

I was always really good at coming up with get-to-know-you questions when my husband and I were only dating. We’d be driving along, and I’d come up with a doozy. Like If you could live inside any TV show, which one would you pick? Or if you could only eat two foods for the rest of your life, what would you eat? You know, stuff that intrigues me but that most people would probably think is dumb.

I’d let him think about it. Then he would answer, and I would swoon inside because, of course his answer was always awesome. Until he turned it to me.

I was always unprepared. (Which completely befuddled him, because really who asks questions like that and doesn’t have an answer themselves?)

Well, today I pose one of my ever-so-lovely questions to you. Only, this time, I’ll start.

If you could hang out for a whole day with anyone, from ever, besides Jesus, who would you choose?

I’d choose Mary of Bethany.

She was so brave. Amazingly impulsive but she had her priorities straight. Focused and awesome.

Yep, I would totally hang out with Mary.

I’d probably have to invite Martha too, though, so we could eat. Because goodness knows Mary wouldn’t be doing it. And if Mary wouldn’t do it, well neither would I.

Every time we find Mary in the Bible, she’s pointing to Jesus with her all-that-she-is. Every time she shows up, she’s at Jesus’ feet.

My favorite time, though, is the one in which she took a year’s worth of l’eau de Toilette and spilled it all over Him, focusing, of course, on his feet. She did it on purpose, too.

Mary loved Jesus so fully she didn’t even have to psych herself up to be unafraid. Not if it had to do with Him. That’s how unashamedly in love with Jesus she was. Totally not afraid to let everyone know it.

Mary was willing to give up any sense of respect she might have had with the men who knew Jesus best. She was content to let Jesus’ best friends make fun of her for her crazy act of fierce adoration when she poured that super expensive perfume where Jesus would soon stink again. (See John 12.)

Her gift of love was not practical.

His feet got dirty quickly. He walked roads before pavement was even invented. He walked a lot. No doubt Jesus’ feet got sweaty.

Still, she gave Him extravagance beyond any I could dream up.

For all practical purposes, Mary’s was not a gift that would last. Jesus wouldn’t be able to pull it out and admire it later, remembering the day she poured it all over Him.

The liquid would dry up. The fragrance would fade.


Still, here I sit writing about it. Some two thousand years after she gave Jesus the gift that looked like it would not last. Tells you what I know.

What my eyes cannot see, what my mind knows of this world’s gifts, shows nothing of the gifts He keeps for always.

The gift Mary wasted, the one that vanished before the eyes of mortals, remains close to the heart of Jesus the Savior, even to this day.

What evaporated within minutes for eyes like mine persists eternal before His.

If I hung out with Mary all day, I think I would ask her, what can I give Him today that Jesus can keep forever? How can I be so absolutely in love that afraid is not even an option?

And I believe she would tell me something like this: Give Him UnafraidThe gift of fearing Him even when He asks you to do something you’re scared of. Give Him an obedient heart that loves Him so madly, there is no other option.

We’d probably be sitting at Backwerk for coffee and croissants. And, looking across the little cobblestone street there, I might see the guy who sits outside the department store on his knees, filthy hands cupped before him.

So I might ask Mary, But what if God asks me to talk to a German beggar? Will that last forever? Words that linger for mere seconds? One Euro that might last an hour?

And we’d both know the answer because we’d remember the promise Jesus gave her that beautiful perfum-y day so long ago.

. . . wherever the gospel is preached . . .

I’d go through my day looking for ways to show Jesus I love Him. Facing my Afraid with the absurd adoration that would make me want to do whatever I could find to obey Him and love Him and pour it all out in the form of Unafraid. 

Then I’d probably stay up late writing all kinds of blog posts about my day with Mary of Bethany. Maybe I’d even write a book about it.

Perhaps I would write a challenge for myself. One for you, too. It might look something like this: Is there an Unafraid you can offer Him today? An offering of absurd adoration that will last for eternity? A sacrifice of total trust for fear of Him?

I would then ask for your stories of your day with your person. I’d laugh with you and read and love hearing the wisdom of your time together.

And my day would end as I fell asleep thinking of another dumb question…


**Have you read the book yet? The one about real life. It’s called Life Unafraid the Manifesto. I wrote it to help myself find my Unafraid. Maybe it will help you, too. I’ll send it to you for free when you subscribe to my email list.

10 Thoughts on “The Gifts He Keeps For Always

  1. I would spend the day with CS Lewis. Probably just let him talk and tell stories the whole time.

  2. Oh, friend! This was just lovely!!! If this was actually a possibility, I would want to be there with you and Mary!!! But this one is really hard to narrow down. I would love to sit with Paul for awhile…
    I love your crazy questions!!! This should not surprise you that I do the same thing!!
    Beautiful, beautiful post- a new perspective on Mary that I just LOVE!

  3. Andrew on March 4, 2013 at 4:19 pm said:

    I can’t narrow it down so I’ll pick someone from the top 10 list. It would be one of the guys that walked with Jesus after he was resurrected but they didn’t know who Jesus was. Jesus explained all the scriptures concerning himself to them. Or, my favorite Happy Days character – Chachi.

    BTW, you do need to cook dinner tonight.

  4. Brianna this is so beautiful! I love it and feel rather shallow that before I read the post, just saw the question, the Lucille Ball popped in my head.

  5. What a great question! You got my day going! Finally so efficient on a Friday that by 7 AM I got nearly everything done that needs doing, and left with the dubious blessing of a chasm of free (actually free!) time, I’d been sitting here asking myself what I was going to DO with it! Attracted by your Euro-photo, I clicked your link on FMF, then saw “Germany,” then read your post, then started clicking around, ending up here.

    Anyhow, the answer that popped into my head was “Augustine!” (of Hippo) On a bus trip recently I’d started reading His “Confessions,” and was stunned to find such kindred spirit with this *man* of *ancient* days. I read bits, stopping to ponder, savor–a lot–and it left me with lots to chew on for weeks.

    But I haven’t gotten back to the book. Till now! It occurs to me that in a sense, I *can* spend the day (more or less) with Augustine, as I “listen in” to his very personal conversation with God. And I’m sure if I could time-travel and spend the day with the flesh-and-blood man, all I would do would be listen!

    Thanks for jump-starting my day!

    • Awesome! I’ve never actually read anything of Augustine, but I’ve admired him from afar. No doubt that would be an amazing day! Thanks for spending your free time with me. I am honored. 🙂

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