One of the greatest contrasts of gratitude is found in Luke 7:36-50. This is the account of the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume.
In this story, those around the table had a sense of entitlement. Entitlement can be the opposite of gratitude. Entitlement can sound like: “I deserve to be on the inner circle rather than the outside.” ”I study and practice the law better than others.” ”I’m smarter than others.” Entitlement feels like arrogance. It can come off as ungratefulness. They snubbed the woman with the perfume.
Those on the outside of the table, or outer circle may have felt left out, they may have been envious of those on the inner circle. They may have felt like spectators, maybe grateful to be in the presence of good teachers, maybe there to learn, maybe hoping to get some left-overs. There is a completely different feeling on the outside.
We have to be careful not to become the arrogant insiders. We don’t deserve the gifts we receive from God. We’re not smarter or better than anyone else. As the church, we must not build a wall between us and “the outsiders.” Only by God’s grace have we been invited to the inner table – to eat a meal to which we are not entitled. And we ourselves are just a few steps away from the outside.
In Luke, the gratitude hero is referred to as “that woman.” She is seen as sinful and disgusting by the insiders. The insiders overlook their own sin and separate themselves, but it was “that woman” who cleaned and anointed Jesus’ feet. She loved Him perfectly.
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