“My Alabaster Box and Yours!”

Mary of Bethany–Matthew 26:6-13Mark 14:3-9, and John 12:1-8; poured ointment on his head.  The woman of Luke–Luke 7:36-50—poured ointment on his feet.

Everyone has got an alabaster box.  In Bible times, alabaster boxes were made of a rich marble-type stone, and the expensive perfume inside was sealed with wax to retain and preserve the scent.  Mary of Bethany, the sister of Lazarus, who was at the home of Simon, the leper, broke her box and poured the ointment over the head of Jesus, her friend, much to the disgust of Judas who saw it as a total waste. The other woman in the gospel of Luke, who had no name, at the house of the Pharisee, more than one year before, had done the same but went further to use her long hair to wipe his feet.  The ointment was worth a laborer’s annual pay and represented a tremendous sacrifice.   It was one thing to “break your alabaster box” on behalf of a friend, or even a family member, but to do so over a man you never knew, and never met, and a prophet, and then to wipe his feet with your hair was socially impolite, politically incorrect and invited negative public comment and criticism.

Our alabaster boxes may be full of the perfume of conviction and conscience.  People break alabaster boxes daily—you give up something you cherish for a greater good, or you are ready “to die for a cause you hold dear”, or you choose to forsake expediency and convenience.  It’s how you break your alabaster box and over whom or what that counts.  Are you ready today to “break your alabaster box” for Jesus to make that resounding sacrifice for a greater good?

When I was a lad, my mom was taking care of an elderly lady who died.  The lady left her entire house to my mother in her will.  Wow! I was gleeful, not over the death, but over the will.  Now, we had another home, fully furnished. That evening, my mother summoned me to her room and informed me that she was selling the willed house, to send me to Andrews University in Michigan, USA.  I wept and begged her not to do so. She told me that one day I would understand.  So here am I, today, after that alabaster box was broken, and that sweet scent of perfume has filled my life and my memory, and I always remember that we’ve all got alabaster boxes, and we are to break them at the right time, in the sweet spirit of Christian sacrifice, despite criticism and comment.   Are you ready to break your alabaster box for God’s cause—is that box a house sale, a 401K, a relocation or something whose scent will fill the air sweetly for years to come? You tell me! You’ve got an alabaster box, don’t you? Bring it out; dust it off, and break it today at the feet of Jesus.