This week we continue to learn how moments of brokenness can be transformed into monumental, life-changing encounters with God.
The exchange of the pain of brokenness in the flesh in return for the beauty of brokenness in the Spirit is poignantly illustrated in the account of the woman with the alabaster jar.
“While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came in with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, ‘Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor,’ And they rebuked her harshly. ‘Leave her alone,’ said Jesus. ‘Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her’” (Mark 14:3-9 NIV).
Her story is one of a less-than-perfect woman, whose greatest desire was to express her deep love and gratitude for her Savior, Jesus. With focus and determination, she gathered her precious and costly gift and set out to find Him. She was compelled to show Jesus just how much He meant to her. She prepared a gift for Him of perfumed ointment in an alabaster jar. She broke the jar and offered it to Jesus. The Bible tells us that it was worth a year’s wages (verse 5). This act was costly, indeed. However, I believe the most precious gift she offered to Jesus that day was her heart. What a glorious depiction of worship! I can only imagine how overwhelmed she must have felt as she made her way through the home, past scornful onlookers, to the feet of Jesus. Once she was in His presence, nothing else mattered.
Jesus responds to her sacrifice in two ways: He defends her and then He honors her. Jesus rebukes her critics. Afterwards, He tells them (in verses 6 and 8) that, “She has done a beautiful thing” and “She did what she could.” Once we offer our heart to Jesus, worship and living for Christ becomes a natural expression of our love for Him. It is from these shattered points in our lives that Jesus has the power to pick up the pieces of who we are and make us more like Him. We can come freely to Jesus just as we are. When we break our own box and pour out our heart over Jesus, it becomes a sweet perfume of worship. When we come to Jesus in brokenness and pour our heart over Him in worship, He sees it as a beautiful thing. The requirement for this Jesus-honored beauty is not perfection, a sinless life, or even outward beauty. The simple requirements are that we do what we can and give the sacrificial offering of our heart. In so doing, Jesus will protect and honor us.
So, the next time a “Humpty Dumpty” moment presents itself in your life, don’t suffer in a silent and shattered state. Run to worship, break your box, pour out your heart, and find peace at the feet of Jesus.
We are beautiful in our brokenness!