Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Week 1 - Giving Into Interruption

While [Jesus] was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of 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. 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

The whole thing was a big interruption. The people at Simon the Leper’s table didn’t really appreciate the lack of order, or the unconventional “gift” of anointing this rabbi, Jesus. This wasn’t how things were done. Her actions were a waste – sinfully short-sighted and negligent stewardship.
But to her, this jar of perfume was more than money; it was a symbol. This jar was a wise investment for her future. It was an object of status; having burial perfume on hand meant that you were wealthy enough to set money aside and weren’t living hand-to-mouth. It was a mark of personal value and importance, material proof that, as a woman in her time, God was “on her side” in providing someone who had taken good care of her.  The significance of stuff then was pretty much the same as what it is now.
So when she shattered her jar, what she really broke in that moment was her self-sustaining provision for security, her carefully crafted social status, her social significance, and personal image.
Surrender like that is always an interruption.
In seeing Jesus, in realizing who He was, she stopped protecting the systems intended to orchestrate a tidy future for herself, and gave away her life instead.  Jesus was here!  He was the one she had been waiting for, and she trusted Him – not just quietly in her privately held beliefs, but out loud with a faith that shattered passive silence. Putting her financial security, possessions, and reputation all second to Jesus, her life became about one thing: loving God.
The Real Question: What is the one thing that my life is most about right now? Does loving God “interrupt” the life I lead?
Family Talk:  Can you think of a time when choosing to follow Jesus interrupted what you wanted to do?   
ONE in Prayer:  Jesus, I belong to You. Give me the faith I need to return all that I am and all that I have to You with my love, so that the world can know and worship You. Amen.

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