"She Broke the Jar"
by Catherine Brown

Loving Others One-by-One

Jesus arrived at the home of Martha, Mary and Lazarus where a dinner was given in His honour (John 12:1). He gathered with dear friends because He loved them. He had no worldly aspirations; His only desire was to be obedient to His Father's will. The Lord's motivation was not based around an assignment nor an agenda, but rather His whole life flowed seamlessly in adoration to His Father.

He was not bound by a programme mentality or by events; He was making history by loving people one-by-one into the Kingdom of Grace. As we consider the simplicity and beauty of the Lord's mission and message it ought to enable us to draw near and enter into the Great Commission with renewed joy and enthusiasm. It's all about His person and His presence.

As a people of God we must learn to honour the presence of Jesus and make time for Him in our lives. Perhaps too often we take for granted the things that are familiar in our day-to-day lives and, unwittingly, we become complacent with people that are most precious to us. May we never allow the wonder of Jesus' daily glory in our lives to be lost to us in the busy-ness of doing, for it is the quietness of being that we learn to trust our heavenly Father. Our security is in our sonship and our Father's affirmation , not in our ministry gifts or function.

Intimacy and Eternity

Jesus got amongst people wherever He went--it is our profound joy and privilege to know that the Lord still desires a personal encounter with each one of His children. It is truly a delight and a pleasure to our Father when we seek Him with all our hearts. Intimacy with God must remain our priority, for it is out of such fellowship that our lives become a fragrance to Jesus, full of His presence and power. When we have been with Jesus it is evident to all around. The sweet aroma of Heaven is life and light to the world, and as we carry the presence of Christ within us we are able to shift the spiritual atmosphere around us as our lives become the message we live and breathe.

Jesus and His friends met around the table. There has to be a meeting place in our lives where the Lord is invited to rule and reign. His Kingdom is His reign! We meet with the Lord as a matter of pleasing our Master. It is not about seeking power, nor even about gaining answers to our petitions, but rather it is first about finding pleasure in the Lord's presence. The table reminds us of covenant and paints a picture of the promised heavenly banquet table when one day we will sit down with Christ as His Bride (Luke 14:15).

It's About Covenant

Covenant relationship is a firm anchor for our souls and eloquently speaks Heaven's peace above the fray of adversity and challenge. God will never leave us or forsake us--and there are times when we do need to be reminded of this truth. The banquet table is a poignant reminder to us never to forget the poor (Luke 14:13) and the prodigals (Luke 15:31-32), and therein lies a priestly pearl of great price.

The priestly mantle is first given to us to serve and minister to our God and Father (Revelation 1:6) and thereafter to carry the nations selflessly and devotedly before the throne of Grace in praise of all that Jesus has done in our lives (1 Peter 2:9).

In ministering with the poor and broken-hearted of society, I find more and more that Jesus is captivating my heart for these precious ones. Once there would have been a time when I was more conscious of the smell of urine or the inevitable grime of homelessness upon such weary souls, but I asked Jesus to let my life be a fragrance and, one-by-one, as we look for the lost, He is teaching me to fear less and to trust Him more. Simultaneously, the distractions such as smell and grime are becoming less noticeable to my frail humanity and my spirit man rejoices in obedience to our King.

As we sit together on park benches or in prison halls, I realise how deep the Father's love is for all mankind and how He longs to call each man, woman and child into His everlasting arms. How I yearn to attain a place in the Father's heart where my heart beats continually in tune with His own. I thank God that we are each being changed into His image with every passing love lesson.

"She broke the jar..." Mark 14:3

Mary broke the jar (Mark 14:3) and poured the expensive perfume on Jesus' head. It is my belief that there has to be a place of breaking in us before we can break out of old mind sets, thought patterns and responses; a place where our defences are broken down, and distractions and obstructions are removed and washed away in the blood of Jesus, so that there is only a "yes" left in us in response to the Lord's requests upon our lives. An outbreak of the Kingdom flows from holy brokenness in us.

Brokenness through Christ is about transformation in us by the Holy Spirit. It requires seasons of trust, testing and trial to produce the grace of surrender in our hearts and minds. In my walk with Jesus, I have found that a fresh anointing comes from a fresh season of encounter. Encounters with Christ are embraces that will often cause hidden things in our lives to surface, whether areas of sin or simply parts of our lives that God wishes to transform. Jesus is continually looking to prune us so that we may become more fruitful.

One such recent experience with the Lord involved a most painful testing within our family circle in which Jesus permitted me to walk through betrayal. One of the most precious parts of my life was broken open and offered as a love gift to Jesus. There were tears in the offering, and I thank our Lord that this painful process has purged my heart to be more like His own. What power there is in His unconditional love! As the writer of Song of Solomon assures us, God's love is unstoppable and unquenchable!

"...for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave. It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame. Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned." Song of Solomon 8:6-7

One Thing

Mary demonstrated absolute surrender in pouring her life out to Christ, offering Him a gift that was worth more than a year's wages. It was no ordinary perfume Mary offered to the Lord, but one that was extremely costly. Would we be so quick to say "yes" if the Lord asked us to give a year's wages away in a moment of Spirit-led wonder? Or how about if Jesus asked us to give Him the one thing in our lives that meant the most to us--would we? Are we truly living a lifestyle of worship that gives God access to all that we are and all that we have in Him, or do we yet withhold from our King of Kings? Mary's focus was simply on doing the one thing she could do to bless His heart. Loving Christ has become far more complicated than the Lord ever intended for His children. Our Father already knows what we need before we ask Him, and all He asks is that we do the one thing of seeking first His Kingdom and His righteousness and then all our needs will be met in Him.

"And the house was filled..." John 12:3

Fullness flows from being in His presence, because at the feet of Christ our hearts become God-responsive and God-reliant. As we grow in God through knowing Him, we experience transition and mature as disciples. No longer do we demand to have our own way, but in maturity we receive joy in yielding to His way of living and giving. God wants to give us a singular Kingdom focus, whereby His heart and passion become our holy obsession, and loving each other and the lost becomes a blessed reality. Pleasing our Father is easy when we realise He delights in us and we please Him by our faith here on earth!

Consider for just a moment the value our Father has placed upon each one of us by sacrificing his Son's life poured out as an eternal fragrance to wash away all our sin, heal all our sickness and disease, and break the curse of poverty. May our hearts be captivated afresh by Christ as we appreciate the ransom He paid that we might live and have life in all its fullness. Jesus was anointed for a reason--because our Father wants His house to be full!

"I tell you the truth, wherever the Gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her." Mark 14:9

Mary had a powerful and beautiful testimony to share with the world, and as we aspire to a lifestyle of adoration, so do we! We must have a testimony to share, and as we open up our hearts and mouths, the fragrance of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is released all around us, transforming, saving and healing the world.

Let your life be a fragrance to Jesus!