Thursday, November 5, 2009

Our Alabaster Flasks

"A woman came to Him having an alabaster flask of very costly fragrant oil, and she poured it on His head as He sat at the table. But when His disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? For this fragrant oil might have been sold...and given to the poor.
"But when Jesus was aware of it, He said to them, 'Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a good work for Me...For in pouring this fragrant oil on My body, she did it for My burial. Assuredly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will also be told as a memorial to her.'"

This passage was part of my devotions today. The story has always fascinated me; just the whole picture of Jesus, the cross only days ahead of Him, reclining at the table and Mary, nervous and sorrowful, coming in with that flask. The sound of pottery smashing as she broke it, the pungent scent of the costly liquid filling the room, and then, this young woman anointing the Master's head and washing His feet with her tears, wiping them dry with her long, dark hair.
That perfume was not cheap and it was probably all Mary had; a fragrant oil to perhaps be used at her own burial. And yet, she gave it completely and recklessly to Christ; every drop was poured over Him, she kept nothing back.
How often do we clutch our alabaster flasks so tightly and say, "No, Lord, everything but that! You can have everything else but not my job, my home, my spouse, or my money. Not that one precious flask."
And yet, that is often that very thing that He most wants because it is of most value to us. Sometimes, as with Abraham, He asks us to give up the unthinkable just to see if we really love HIm best? we? What is your flask? What are mine? If He asked for them, would we obey? Or would we grasp it tighter, hide it away, and mutter excuses on how the God of the universe isn't worth that much?
Do we trade the Creator for a creation or do we smash it recklessly and completely and let the sweet scent of obedience fill our nostrils and cover us in the fragrance of a heart truly under the lordship of Mary's Master?