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Break Open Your Alabaster Box

by Kent Henry

If I've ever heard a powerful example of what whole-hearted worship is, this would be it: breaking open your alabaster box (your heart) on a consistent basis in praise and worship. Are we consistent in pouring forth our hearts and sharing our love with the Father? If not, we need to start breaking open the spiritual vial of costly perfume to anoint the Lord through prayer and praise on a daily basis. This is really just our reasonable service and offering to the Living God (Romans 12:1,2).

The lady in Matthew 26, who came to Jesus with an expensive alabaster box full of perfume, is still known today throughout the world. For what is she even remembered? Wasting her best on the Lord Jesus. She "wasted" her most precious possession on the main focus of her life and love, the Lamb who would take away the sin of the world.

Now when Jesus was in Bethany, at the home of Simon the leper, a woman came to Him with an alabaster box of very costly perfume (precious ointment, fragrant oil) and she poured it upon His head as He reclined at table. But the disciples were indignant (greatly displeased) when they saw this, and said, "What is the point of this waste?" For this perfume might have been sold for a high price and the money given to the poor.

But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you bother (find fault with) the woman? For she has done a good deed (a beautiful thing) to me. For the poor you have with you always; but you do not always have Me.

"For when she poured this perfume upon My body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done shall also be spoken of in memory of her" (Matthew 26:6-13).

Much Love
Three very important points are made here in this passage of scripture. One is the account itself of this extravagant act of worship. By giving her most precious possession, this woman showed much love to the Lord Jesus. Some commentaries say that this vial of expensive perfume was equal in value to a whole life's savings. For us as New Testament believers, can we even begin to match this lady's act of giving her all? And then, will we learn to flow in extravagant worship on a daily basis?

I'm not so much concerned any more with people receiving teaching and being touched by revelation from God's Word. But more, will we change our lives and become doers of that Word and revelation we hear and receive?

The second point is the attitude of the onlooking disciples. They were so "wise" in their own eyes that they almost missed one of the most significant events of personal ministry to Jesus during His lifetime on earth. So many times I have missed the important point in being a worshiper. Worship is a choice, not a feeling. Worship is a commitment of heart, not just an emotional outflow.

Even though the disciples got upset with her for her "wasteful act," the Lord Jesus was blessed and His heart was touched by her. Remember this: Non-worshipers (or spectators) will always be on a different wavelength. Unless or until they change their heart posture, extravagant worship seems to be, at least to them, an overstatement, even a gaudy display of affection or emotions.

Isn't this onlooking attitude strange? For selfless worship is exactly what blesses the heart of your Heavenly Father. People who worship God unashamedly serve as working models and examples for others, and this helps them begin to enter into His Presence.

The Beauty of Worship
Finally, we look at the response and admonishment of Jesus to this woman and the disciples. Jesus said that "she has done a beautiful thing to me." This speaks of the beauty of worship in God's sight. In this case, it was the beauty of her act and the fragrance that was left over in the room after she anointed Jesus.

There is a fragrance to your worship, an aroma that comes from the overflow of heartfelt love toward God. Many people still stand on the sidelines, never fully breaking open their alabaster box in praise and worship. That sweet smelling savor is rarely let out of their box to be enjoyed by God and His people.

This area of aroma, sweet-smelling savor, and fragrance deserves the attention of our own personal Bible study. For within it are locked up some of the great truths about being worshipers in the fullest sense of the word.

There is an aspect of aroma to brokenness that has not yet been understood by this generation concerning whole-hearted worship. I don't feel that the Lord has withheld this revelation as much as we have not come into the place spiritually that we have asked for it from the Lord.

Brokenness is not a bad word, even though years ago the teaching about it was fairly inaccurate and may have left a very bad taste in our spiritual mouths. In this case, it should be apparent. Without the breaking open of the box, there is no anointing. Without the anointing, there is very little or no fragrance.

Break open your alabaster box, yield up to the Lord the most precious, costly things of your life. The sweet communion with God will be so rich, it will draw you back time and time again. As it always is with obedient servants, God will be sure to fill your alabaster box over and over again. Praise God!

Kent Henry is a well known worship leader, composer and teacher, who conducts "The Worship Seminar" across the United States. This article appeared in Kent's Psalmist magazine (no longer published) and is reprinted with the author's permission.

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