I am completely crazy about cool jewelry, so when the Lord prompted me to take off my favorite necklace and give it to the woman who had just admired it, I tried to pretend I didn’t hear Him.
“It’s mine, God!” I reasoned. “I love this necklace! Why would You ask me to do that?”
My self-plan didn’t like the God-plan that was laid out before me.
He was nudging me to give up something that meant a lot to me. And the Spirit prompt didn’t even make sense. It seemed bizarre and totally random.
Reluctantly, I chose to obey.
Moments later God softened my childish heart as the woman wept at the Lord’s blessing. My selfish thoughts faded to deep, humble joy as I watched her rejoice in God’s love for her. It was personal and she knew it. She felt it.
Blessings boomeranged right back to my heart as I thanked the Lord for allowing me to participate in His special moment with her.
It was a beautiful thing.
I’m gonna be honest, sometimes I’d rather give things that don’t cost me much. That’s probably something only I wrestle with, right? (Kidding.) It’s often hard to be open handed with things that we hold dear, isn’t it?
Some of us struggle with an unwillingness to give away material things or money. Others of us hold tight to our schedules, affections, positions, jobs or availability. Still more of us hold tightly to our children, grandchildren, spouses, friends, parents or other people in our lives that we want to keep a tight rein on.
The truth of the matter is this: the act of giving generously is kingdom gain, because in God’s economy surrender and worship go hand in hand.
The Bible shows us a beautiful picture of surrendered devotion in Mary of Bethany. She poured out an offering onto the feet of Jesus that was worth a year’s wages. She lavished her costly perfume, her attention, her affection, her time and her worship on Jesus because she loved Him.
He was her Savior. Her Friend. Her Hope. The Healer who had miraculously brought life back to the stench of death that had fallen on her brother Lazarus.
The details are recorded in the book of Matthew.
“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of a man known as 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.
When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Matthew 26:6-13 NIV).
The Message paraphrase says it this way, “She has just done something wonderfully significant for me” (Matthew 26:10).
When I read this story, I find myself wondering: when God looks at my life, does He see a beautiful thing?
Does He see me do anything wonderfully significant for Him?
What do you think He sees when He looks at your life?
Does He see a beautiful thing?
When we open the hands of our lives to God’s presence and purposes, and yield to His service, we can be confident He does, in fact, see a beautiful thing.
Dear Lord, You are worth far more praise than I could ever give. Please help me to rest in Your presence and trust in Your plans.
Fill me with Your perspective until I willingly lay down my will for Yours. Lord, when You look at my life, I want You to see beautiful.
In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
FOR YOUR REFLECTION and RESPONSE
When have you sensed the Lord leading you to do something beautiful for Him?
Leave a comment and let’s share.
Is there anything or anyone you’re holding back from God today? Spend a few moments praying about it.
Read through Psalm 96. Read through it a second time, but pause after each verse with a personal, prayerful response to God. Write out any verses that you want to remember.