Jesus was in Bethany, at the house of Simon (known as “the Leper”). While He was at table, a woman came up with an alabaster pot containing extremely valuable ointment made of pure spikenard. She broke the pot and poured the ointment on Jesus’ head.
Inside all of us is something of brobdingnagian value. It’s already there, we don’t need to wait for it to enter us from “out there”. We need to break the shell that is trapping it and keeping it from pouring forth out onto the hurting world around us.
The “shell”, in a general sense, can be simply pride, ego, fear, and specifically can be unforgiveness, perhaps of a person or organization. For some, it is a history of being hurt. So we protect ourselves, when in reality, we are denying the world of great blessing that God has purposed for us to be.
We need to be broken.
Our self-life needs to be crucified.
I highly recommend Watchman Nee’s The Release of the Spirit for an excellent treatment on this brokeness that is required to be who we were created to be.
We are not defined by our family, circumstances, or what we’ve done, but by what we were created to be.
Until everything is let go except for Christ, we will live below our potential.
Some of the people there grumbled to one another….And they were angry with her.
She performed for an audience of One. She broke Jewish custom and interrupted a group of dudes. That’s a no no.
She cared about what one person thought.
And oh the reward.
“Leave her alone,” Jesus said.
If Jesus told someone to leave me alone because I was doing something for Him from my heart……I don’t know that I would need another word of affirmation for the rest of my life. And I like words of affirmation. It’s one of my love languages.
“Why make trouble for her? She has done a wonderful thing for me.”
This is what I like to call a “gentle shut-up”.
“She has played her part.”
She did her portion for God.
Do your portion for God today, and everyday.
Do it FOR HIM.
The divine nod of approval is completely sufficient.
“I’m telling the truth: wherever the message is announced in all the world, the story of what she has done will be told. That will be her memorial.”
What a reward for doing something for the love of God only!
There are those who chatter on like a stabbing sword, but a wise tongue heals.
The ancient wisdom teachers felt that the fewer words the better.
To speak mindlessly about a matter is to invite great harm–thus the stabbing sword image.
What if we only spoke at length about that which we knew much about?
I know, I know, some of us would never speak at length. I get it.
But seriously, we just don’t seem to listen well, speaking only those words which are needed, asking those though-provoking questions as invitations to seek God more vigorously.
I have found it most helpful to listen in such a manner in which I am constantly asking the Holy Spirit, “What does s/he need to hear right now?” God knows this person in front of me waaaaay better than I do, so why would I not seek His direction in conversation?
That stabbing sword of chatter can be quite damaging when one feels unheard. How many times I’ve encountered a person (and have no doubt been that person!) who can’t seem to wait for the other to finish so they can talk, or who derails the thought process by ever bringing it back to themselves. Or they give the generic, scripted advice, probably meaning well, but sending the (hopefully unintended) crystal clear message of: “I’m not really listening to YOU.” To be unseen or unheard is to feel unvalued. And that is possibly the worst feeling.
Also, let us frankly admit that our attention spans are only so long, then the situation just becomes painful. Those who chatter on end up really wearing us out and down after a while, even if it’s good stuff. You can only take in so much.
Like the “Generation Axe” concert I went to a couple weeks ago with my buddy Jerry. Five of the greatest guitarists of the past 30 years, including my personal favorite Zakk Wylde, present for three and a half hours of shredderific mayhem. It was awesome!
For the first hour and a half.
Then the notes started blending together.
Then the ear drums started bleeding.
Then the comatose state settled in accompanied by drooling. Which I saw everywhere as I looked around me at all the rabid fans who had started out so pumped. Now they looked like brain dead asylum escapees, praying it would mercifully end, but not wanting to be that first loser to walk out on these 6-string legends.
That’s all Jerry and I could say to each other as we walked to the car in a dazed ear-ringing and brain-bleeding state of near unconsciousness.
A picture of this concert should go next to the definition of “too much.”
Jesus told short, thoughtful parables. He asked provoking questions. He spoke to the particular person in their particular situation. Not saying more than He needed to, but obviously not saying too little.
May we do the same.
Yes, I know, I’ve used too many words in today’s Med. I’m just trying to give a current example of too much chatter. OK, that’s not the reason for the 900+ words…You got me. I’m wordy. But I’m working on it!