Now when Jesus was in Bethany, in the house of Simon the leper, There came unto Him a woman having an alabaster box of very precious ointment, and poured it on His head, as He sat at meat.
But when His disciples saw it, they had indignation, saying, “To what purpose is this waste? For this ointment might have been sold for much, and given to the poor.”
When Jesus understood it, He said unto them, “Why trouble ye the woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon Me. For ye have the poor always with you; but Me ye have not always. For in that she hath poured this ointment on My body, she did it for my burial. Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever this Gospel is preached in the whole world, there shall also this, that this woman hath done, be told for a memorial of her.” (Matthew 26: 6-13)
Why would Jesus want it to be told in memorial of the woman?
This account used to puzzle me. Why was it so special to Him that He had a version of it in each of the Gospels? (see Mark 14: 3-9; Luke 7: 36-50; John 12: 1-8)
One day as I was reading it over, it struck me. She (let’s call her Mary) gave Jesus the most precious thing she owned. That was why it was so special to Him, it was her everything.
If some poor person that probably didn’t own much more than the clothes she was wearing and an alabaster box of ointment, would choose to pour that perfume on me, that would be a great sacrifice. Mary was honoring Jesus with her act of breaking the seal and pouring the spikenard.
How it Applies to us.
Our lives are like alabaster boxes. We can choose to stay closed and unbroken, blessing no one; or we can be broken for Jesus’ sake, that the sweet scent would bless lives around us. I want to be broken.
Yet why does it seem that so much of the Christian life seems to mean giving something up, having our wills broken, or submitting to God’s will of something else than our hopes, dreams, and wishes. Though we don’t often grasp this truth, it isn’t that doleful. When we give up something we hold dear, we take on greater riches in Christ! When our wills are broken, we find a completeness in Christ! I can’t think of one testimony where someone shared about giving up their wills or surrendering to Christ where they didn’t also share the joy and peace that came with it. God knows what is best for us, so He asks us to be poured out, knowing that if we allow Him to work in us, we and others will be blessed.
I can think of a few instances when someone asked me to do something I did not want to do. I was miserable, trying to tell God all the reasons why it wasn’t necessary for me to do that job. He didn’t do anything but gently asked, “Daughter, why not do this thing cheerfully? Will it really hurt you?”
Finally I said, “Yes, Lord. I will do what I was asked to do.” It brought such rest to me I could hardly believe it. The job didn’t even look that hard anymore. Others would have been hurt by my bitterness if I had not cheerfully done my work, but now they could be blessed.
In all of us there is a sweet smelling spikenard. Will we keep it to ourselves? Or will we allow the box to be broken that God is honored and others are blessed. The lives I have been most blessed by are those who have allowed God to break them.
God is looking down from His throne in heaven. He sees women who have allowed Him to break them and has become a blessing to others. But He wants them to be a still greater blessing, so He allows another instance to pass their way that requires greater breaking. Will you and I allow God to work, or will we hold back?
You were broken, Lord,
For me, On Calvary.
May I be broken
For thee, where’re I be.
You shed your blood, Lord,
That I might be made free.
Now in thanks I pour
My life, all out, for thee.
Save it for Later.
Living poured out means that we give ourselves for God and others. We don’t selfishly keep to ourselves. We live to bless others.
Here is an article on the difference between being poured out and wearing out that I found a blessing.
And as moms who sometimes feel like we are giving everything, I wrote about how I was able to get through some of the toughest times of motherhood here.