Going for Broke
I love to read the story where Mary, the sister of Lazarus, breaks open her expensive bottle of perfume and lavishly, lovingly, pours in on Jesus. This bottle of perfume is her dowry. It is very costly. To break this bottle of expensive perfume likely means that she gives up the dream that most women have — that of getting married. Back then, if you didn’t have a sizable dowry, you weren’t classified as marrying material. In spite of that, Mary chose to ‘go for broke.’ What a precious gift she gave the Lord.
I love how Mary gave the best she could give, and she didn’t even care what others thought of her. When the customs of that day said that she should have been in the kitchen helping Martha, there sits Mary, at the feet of Jesus, taking in his every word. (Lk. 10:38-43)
In ‘going for broke,’ we can gain so much because we learn to let go of ourselves. To offer something sacrificial to our Lord, it requires us to be broken of our self-centeredness and our pride. It requires us to look beyond our financial needs, looking beyond our fears for the future, and lavishing our love upon Jesus.
When we are broken by God, we experience true joy because weeping endures for the night, but God promises us that joy will come in the morning.
We learn that our life is in the Master’s hands, and He is carefully watching over us, using everything we face to bring about honor to His name. The brokenness we learn from our trials gains us peace that passes all understanding.
Being broken helps to understand that God’s agenda is much more important than my own gives me a greater patience because I realize that I can let my own agenda go.
When I’m broken to the point where I realize that I have no rights, it reduces my urge to compete with others, and that helps me to walk in kindness.
In our brokenness, when God strips away our pride, we realize that within us lies no good thing, and that our heart is deceitful and desperately wicked. We learn that any goodness that comes from us is ultimately from Him.
In the midst of deep brokenness, we discover that the greener grass is actually being in the center of His will, even in those times when we don’t understand His plan. This leads us to follow hard after faithfulness. We become faithful and steady even in the hardest of times. What an awesome sacrifice that is to the Lord. He knows how hard it is for us to remain faithful and steady.
When we pour out our fleshly tendencies to the Lord, we realize the depths of our wretchedness. We also see the heights of God’s graciousness and goodness towards us. That works in us a gentleness in responding to those around us.
God gives us all that we need pertaining to life and godliness. We have power to say NO to worldly passion. When that passion is to lose our temper, we react instead of respond to situations. Maybe the worldly passion is spending money that we don’t have, or usurping our authority over our husband. It may even be a passion to have an affair — whether that affair be physical, emotional, or even just in our mind. Breaking open that alabaster box of our flesh can bring us a self-control where we truly want what our heavenly Father wants — obedience.
So many times, when we think of giving a sacrificial gift to God, like Mary did with her alabaster box, we think in terms of something that may cost us financially. We see in I Sam. 15 that to obey is better than sacrifice. Instead of trying to come up with an expensive gift to offer the Lord, why not offer up your sinful flesh? There is nothing more precious in His sight than a child who comes to offer their flesh, allowing Him to cut away those unwanted pieces so that He can make you more like Him. We may discover that sometimes obedience IS the sacrifice.
© 2004, Stacy R Miller