She stared across the room at the girl who held the gift she so desperately wanted and dreamed of what it would be like to hold that beautifully ornate box in her hands. The jealously that welled up from deep within, caused her to believe with certainty that this gift was not deserved by its recipient. That the giver so unfairly chose to give this one more beauty, wisdom, riches, power, praise, gifts, talents, joy, and above all, Love.
Yet as she watched the girl whose gift she would trade her own life for open the treasure she carried, she saw past the packaging and deep into her pain. For the treasure this girl carried came at a cost.
The peace she carried was fought for through the loss of a life she cherished, her joy was found through years of battling against the memories of those many dark & fretful nights, her hope became something of substance when she learned to believe for good again, her beauty became real when she believed she no longer needed to harm herself and starve herself because she knew that God loved all of her, her gifts were what saved her, when she felt she had nothing left she could at least open up her mouth and sing praises to her king. Her wisdom, her talents, her position and her material things were all marked by something greater than just having those things themselves. They were pictures of God’s grace & mercy through her sin, her wounds, her pain.
“a woman of the city, who was a sinner…brought an alabaster flask of ointment, and standing behind Jesus at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head and kissed his feet and anointed them with the ointment.” Luke 7:37-38
She was right to believe with certainty that this gift was not deserved by its recipient. No, Grace is never deserved. It is a gift freely given to all who ask through the precious blood of Jesus. It is given by the Giver of good gifts, for the enjoyment of the one to whom he gives it.
Yet, the trouble with comparison, is that in its desire to wish away one’s life for another, it chooses only to take the good but almost always leaves out the pain. When we want what others have, we have to want what it costs to have it. We don’t know the cost of another’s treasure, but we can know the cost of our own.
When we get caught up in comparing, not only do we tell God that he is not enough and that his gifts are not enough, but that we are not enough.
This we- you and I- the crown of his creation, the ones he loved so much that he was willing to send his only son for. A king among men, made to hang on a cross so that this ‘us’ we so easily wish away, could live.
This woman that came and brought her treasured alabaster box filled with her highly valuable perfume, knew that she didn’t deserve the gift of sitting at the feet of Jesus. Yet, she went and she lie there, wetting his feet with her tears and wiping them with her hair. She knew that the gift of his presence came at a cost and as she scarified her praise, she learned that the price had already been paid. That night, Jesus ultimately gave her a treasured gift she didn’t deserve—Forgiveness.
And we, who would only see the goodness in her life, wouldn’t know what it cost her that night to lay at the feet of Jesus and be fully known. We wouldn’t know what it took for her to make her way to that room to that place of full surrender. Yet, we know what our forgiveness cost and we know what God brought us through to be able to receive it and live daily changed by it.
“Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven—for she loved much.” Luke 7:47a
Keep your eyes fixed on the giver. Treasure your gifts and remember the cost. Praise God for his graciousness toward all his children, and never cease to stand in awe of the greatness of his Love.
Worship: I love music & I love to share it. Each song is for each post. Listen and Enjoy! Alabaster Box
Gratitude: What gifts & blessings has God blessed you with? Make a short list right now and praise him for them.
Grow: How & when do you tend to focus on other’s treasures? How can you combat these thoughts? Matthew 6:19-21
Give: God is the giver of many good and gracious gifts. What gifts have you been blessed with? How can you use them to serve him and share with others about him?
Each LSLW post includes three areas of reflection in hopes to offer a chance for us to give thanks, grow in our personal faith and find ways to pour out from our lives what Christ has poured into us.
© Tamara Gurley 2014