She tentatively tiptoes into the room, cradling her alabaster jar of perfume, the most expensive item she owns. She hears whispers and titters as she approaches The Teacher. He smiles gently, encouraging her as she approaches Him. Exposing herself to ridicule and criticism after coming out of a life of shame, she continues with what she is compelled to do, breaking and pouring out the jar onto her Lord and then wiping his feet with her hair. He touches her, and then silences those who protest, commanding respect for what she is doing, for it is beautiful to Him.
The art that’s put into our heart to create is like this alabaster jar. As we, like Mary, feel compelled to carry it out into the world at risk of being ostracized, we pour out what’s most valuable to us in an act of extravagant worship. As we break our jars and offer our words, the scent permeates the page and drifts farther than we could have imagined, as an act of worship unto God Himself.
It would’ve been easier for Mary to pour out her jar privately, protected from the ridicule of others. But she did so before spectators, just as the writer willingly (or reluctantly?) submits himself or herself to an audience.
And like David, who insisted that He not present God with an offering that cost him nothing, so was her sacrifice. And so is ours…if we are brave. The risky words that cost us the most–that make us the most vulnerable–have the most power. If our breath doesn’t catch a bit before hitting publish or send, I wonder if we’ve put enough at stake.
The criticism Mary received is similar to what I face as a writer, though it’s often more of a wrestling with my own thoughts:
Why all this waste?
Why are you wasting your time when you could be doing something more productive? When you could be serving your family or at least contributing to the family income?
But what the world (or our thoughts) calls “waste,” Jesus calls beautiful. He operates within a different economy.
Let your most important words pour out this week without regard for what other people might think. Don’t listen to the lies that you are wasting time, money or relationships. If God is compelling you to write, then write. Keep pouring yourself out in worship to Jesus Himself–not others–because He calls the sacrifice of your words “beautiful.”
Mat. 26, Mark 14, Luke 7, 2 Sam. 24:24
Do you ever struggle with the feeling that you are wasting your time?
Do you ever see your writing as an act of worship?
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