Thursday, February 9, 2012

Alabaster Jars

Forget CAM. I’m not killing the concept but I’m not limiting it to one month. I’m dropping the formality and the attention given to it. Besides, the theme of CAM is how I want to live my life all the time. I’ve wanted to write since I was eight years old. So I'm writing, starting with this blog. Now for the important stuff!

Alabaster jars: what happens when you hold nothing back?

While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. (Matthew 26:6-7)

The nard was costly, about a years’ worth of wages. For most of you, that could be anywhere from $15-100k. Think about that. Mark 14 is clear that she broke the jar and poured it over Jesus’ head. She didn't say to herself, “I’m going to take off the cap, pour out a little, cork it and save the rest for later.” She broke the jar because she was going to spend every bit of the contents on Christ. There would be nothing left for the jar to hold when Mary was finished. She gave it ALL in one moment, one setting. It was decisive and potent.

Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Matt 26:13) Every time I hear that I think, “Yeah, Mary!!! Way to set the standard for worshipping Jesus and giving your all!” She gave up a year’s worth of wages, her tears and her dignity and she is remembered “wherever this gospel is preached” – think of that scope. Her story is included with the gospel of Christ. How many times has the gospel been shared across the centuries – billions? Trillions? What she did had serious impact.

I resigned from my “dream job” in December 2011. I had a jar of treasures, specific desires, hopes, and answered prayer stored up from the span of thirteen years or so. Before I knew it I had hit the ceiling on what I could learn and what I could contribute at my workplace. My alabaster jar was worth a great deal and didn’t come cheaply. I sought counsel and chose to quit before having another job lined up. That meant fully letting go and feeling the void of surrendering everything.

I don’t quite have words to explain the way in which I cried on the way home from work the day I quit. An unwrapping of my soul replete with energy and emotion, exhausting the fibers of my being to release deposits placed there by hard work, sobbing like I’ve never sobbed, letting loose memories, accomplishments and achievements and releasing them to the Lord without knowing what would replace them. I poured out everything I could – more than I thought I could give, in fact. Some of you have been in that place before. In that moment of surrender I told God I couldn’t have imagined a better fit for everything I wanted in that job… and I was giving it all up because I think He can give me better than I can imagine. In fact, I know He can. Rather than being safe in the known I chose to let the unknown overtake me and rock my world because of who God is: He never fails, He is never unfaithful. We are always secure in Him. We may not feel safe, but we are always secure. That is one key to surrender: WHO we surrender to matters.

By no means do I have this figured out. I have much to learn. For this instance, I don’t know where or when I’ll be working again, just that God’s got something in store for me. Surrender is inherently difficult. However, if you want your soul to be satisfied you need to know that we were made to worship. We were made to give and we often don’t realize how freeing that is. What if I lived a life of continually collecting and saving so I can bring alabaster jar after alabaster jar after alabaster jar to the feet of Jesus? What if I gave everything I had and didn’t have to worry about managing it myself? I want the contents of my life to be available to be poured out without reserve. I want to taste the joy of not holding anything back.

How’s your surrender? Do you have an alabaster jar you’ve been holding on to? Do you have a collection of jars that need to be surrendered? What needs to be broken without holding anything back? What do you need to be filled in your life? Where would God like to bless you with MORE if you could give up what is LESS?

If you have an alabaster jar to break, what's keeping you from letting it go?

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