Our pastor, Richard Allwood, preached very movingly last week about the woman who anointed Jesus at Bethany in Matthew 26. The part of his message that hit home most for me was the fact that to anoint Jesus the perfume jar would have to be broken. In other words, as well as being a very costly act it was an all-or-nothing one. There wasn't any getting the perfume back afterwards or resealing the jar to keep some of it.
This set me thinking of how often I want to give myself to God but less than all of me. To take steps with Jesus that aren't really steps of faith because I leave some bridges unburned so that I can always do OK on my own if God doesn't come through. Sacrifices that look good, but are actually a bit like Ananias and Sapphira - they LOOK impressive but I know and God knows that they aren't. They are done for the praise of people and the sake of a reputation for godliness that is unmerited.
And then I wonder how often we really preach total commitment to Christ at the point of conversion or at the point someone joins a local church. Do we say to people "there is no going back after this, this is the point of no return. The neck of the bottle gets broken and there are certain things - your sin, your life, your time, everything you have - that you can't ever have back afterwards"? Do we teach all or nothing? That God bought us and owns us? And if we don't, do we - subtly and unwittingly - give the impression that people are just making a lifestyle choice or choosing a leisure option?
There is something deeply of the old nature that makes us want to plan our life for God to fit in with us. The breaking of the perfume jar was a resounding turning the back on the old life and a total 100% letting God have her life. Not just acknowledging Jesus and his sacrifice on the cross but embracing him. The challenge for me today is total discipleship. Not necessarily more activity, but inclining my heart to love God in a perfume-jar-smashing way.
Let the fragrant aroma of submission fill your heart and your prayers and the places you visit today.