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 did not hear Him.
“It’s mine, God!” I reasoned. “It isn’t replaceable! Why would ask me to do that?”
My self-plan did not like the God-plan laid out before me. God was asking me to give up something that meant a lot to me so that another woman could be blessed. It seemed crazy. Unnecessary. However, in this instance, through the strength of Christ, I chose to obey even though I did not want too. It hurt. It cost me big. I felt the loss.
God softened my childish heart, however, as the woman wept at the Lord’s blessing. As I silently confessed my selfish thoughts, God poured a deep joy into my soul. He showed me that my sacrifice was an act of worship to Him. Blessings boomeranged right back to my heart as I humbly thanked Him for allowing me to participate in His moment with her. It was a beautiful thing.
There are just times when I would rather give gifts that don’t cost me too much. That is probably something that only I wrestle with, right? (Wink! Wink!) It is 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 hold tightly to our schedules, our affections, or our availability while still others try to keep a tight reign on our children, grandchildren, spouses, parents or other people in our life.
God must have known we would struggle with this because His Word addresses this issue and shows us a beautiful picture of surrendered devotion in Mary of Bethany. The offering she poured out onto the feet of Jesus 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.
“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 version says it this way: “She has just done something wonderfully significant for me.” (Matthew 26:10)
When I read this story, I am compelled to wonder if God sees a beautiful thing when He looks at my life. Does He see me do anything that is wonderfully significant for Him?
What do you think He sees when he looks at your life?
Does He see a beautiful thing?
The more time we spend with God and reading His Word, the more beautiful our life will become. Therefore, here is my challenge to you: I challenge you to commit 15 minutes a day to God for one week. Just one week. Can you do that? Read a chapter in the Psalms and spend time in prayer each day for seven days. Make the sacrifice. If you already have a disciplined quiet time, I challenge you to add 15 minutes of prayer time. It will be a beautiful thing to both you and God.
When we open the hands of our lives to His presence, to His service and for His glory, rest assured God will see a beautiful thing. When we obey His promptings and listen to His voice that whispers to our soul, He will fill us to overflowing with joy, peace, satisfaction and His beauty.
Listen to the song, Something Beautiful, that Gwen co-wrote when wrestling with and praying through this passage of Scripture. Let her song be the springboard for your time in prayer today…
Dear God, You are worth far more praise than I could ever give. Please help me to rest in Your presence and trust in Your plan. Fill me with Your perspective until I joyfully lay down my will for Yours. Lord, when You look at my life, I want You to see beautiful. In Jesus’s name, amen.
REFLECT & RESPOND: Will you commit to an extra 15 minutes a day for the next week? Leave a comment below with a response to this post or with a declaration, “I’m in for 15!”
Every beautiful act of worship begins with the heart. If you would like to learn more about how your brokenness can be transformed into a picture of God’s beauty, order my book Broken Into Beautiful. This resource will help you experience the power of hope, healing and restoration!