Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Alabaster Box


     I enter a lovely light filled room.  The oak floors gleam warmly around the edges of a richly colored oriental carpet.  I can smell cinnamon in the air.  A fire crackles cheerily in the stone fireplace and a long haired cat lays dozing on the granite hearth.  Pictures of my family are displayed prominently on the mantel.  A plush comfortable chair is situated near the fireplace with a cozy throw draped over it.  Next to the chair is an elegant side table with a light for reading a much used leather bible.  A small tray resting on it holds a cup of coffee and a few biscotti.  The room invites me in and calls me to linger.
     I think that I could spend quality time with God in that room.  It is filled with beauty, peace, and comfort.  I would like to pray and read His word there.  I think in that room I could lay my heart out before God and give Him all that I am and ever will be.  I could be broken before Him in that lovely place.  Unfortunately, as you have probably guessed, that room is not at my house.  
     The room in my house is considerably less lovely.  An unfinished puzzle is strewn across the coffee table.  A pillow and blanket have been left discarded on the floor.  Our dog is laying in the middle of it, enjoying a forbidden pleasure.  Legos await the unwary barefoot person who strolls by.  There are papers and books scattered on my desk.  My husbands desk is likewise littered.  There are socks on the floor.  The windows have smudges on them.  The room is not filthy, just lived in.
     This is where I usually meet with the Lord.  Not in the beautiful places, but rather in the middle of the mess.  Don’t misunderstand, I love my home and everyone that lives in it.  However, I am very aware of the fact that no matter how diligently I clean and polish the house in the morning, it will inevitably end up in a disastrous mess by early afternoon.  That is life.  That is where I spend time with God.
     In my mind there is the ideal place where I could best meet God.  I tell myself, when I get my act together, when I stop sinning, when the house is clean, when the kids are grown, when I am not so tired, busy, challenged then I can be broken before Him.  But the ideal situations can be a long time coming.  Maybe it isn’t about being in the perfect place, or even being as cleaned up as I can.  Maybe it is about being broken before Him - just as I am.

 In Matthew 26:2-16  we read about a woman with an alabaster box.
While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of a man known as Simon the Leper, a woman came 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.  I tell you the truth, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

      The woman with the alabaster box could not wait for the ideal time or location to break open the jar and anoint Jesus.  She had to pour it out right at the dining room table.  I am sure that she would have preferred some place less public.  A place alone with Jesus.  Maybe another room or out in a garden among the flowers.  A place where no one would judge or criticize her.  However, she had obviously reached a place where she needed Jesus more than any other thing.  She could not wait a moment more.  She took what she had and offered it to Jesus.
    Psalm 146:8  The Lord lifts up those who are bowed down.
    As you are bowed down before the Lord in the midst of the dailiness of life, He will lift you up and say, “Let me heal the broken places in your heart.”  Being bowed before our Savior, surrendering the real you, the one with toys and dirty socks lying around is what He is waiting for.  Do not fear being broken before the Lord,  because He is with us in our brokenness.
-Donna
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