Now, a certain man was sick. He was from Bethany,
the village of Mary and her sister Martha.
2 It was the same Mary who anointed the Lord
with ointment, and wiped His feet with her hair…”
John 11: 1-3
For me, there’s one frame, one historical scene that stands out more than the rest; it’s found in this provocative exploit of one woman and her alabaster jar.
I suppose when this woman came to anoint the feet of Jesus, she must have been on her own personal journey. Perhaps her life was in desperate need of repair. But what is striking in this story is nothing short of astonishing. It’s manifest in the words, “the same Mary…”
For a brief moment let this scene fill your mind and the words touch your heart. This “same Mary” that offered loving extravagant worship to Jesus now stood before him discouraged and disillusioned. Her brother’s death she couldn’t bear or even comprehend. If only the Lord had been there – on time.
The passage reveals expectation, love, and hope, and simultaneously, heartache, discouragement, and disillusionment. Isn’t this the stuff of life? In the midst of despair, the gospel writer encourages us to remember her former gesture. Why? Is it possible that Jesus was more than impressed with her outward display of affection? She was messy and beautiful, and He loved her deeply. In fact, He champions her in public to all the disgruntled onlookers who considered her lavish generosity scandalous and wasteful.
I love how, after she bestowed her gift upon Him, Jesus rebukes the opposition and their wanton indignant remarks: “Leave her alone; why do you bother her? She has done a beautiful thing to Me” (Matt. 26:10 NIV). How many of us can boast such a confidence?
And so who is this woman doing this beautiful thing? She is Mary, the same Mary, one woman with one jar. She is a reckless, unraveled, and extravagant soul who responded to Jesus in a stunning, generous way.
Mary’s story is ours too
Inspiring Generous Joy (now WDW Signature Event) is a one-day event encouraging women to step into their identity in Christ, and to take on the fullness of their inherent worth as image bearers. It’s a day we surrender and reckon how we’ll lay down precious gifts in acts of love and devotion. And all of the banter and laughter present there are simply a kiss from heaven. From all walks of life we are there for one thing: to follow Christ courageously, to live life passionately, and, like Mary, to give our treasures generously, whatever they may be.
When I was asked to write this post for a Women Doing Well event, I was truly honored by the request. And I suppose this is a small act of worship that enables me to bring voice to the many extravagant, generous women—all women with their own respective jar to lay down: broken and poured at His feet.
As I took my seat at this event, I scanned the room and the moment was truly electric! The place was filled with poised and ready, bright and brilliant hearts. The sisterly embrace was divine, the joy and laughter was contagious, and I bet all of heaven smiled. These women were ready to hear the word, any word, on how to find passion, purpose, and a plan for their alabaster jars. In essence, we were there to step into this same Mary’s shoes. We came together to learn, to forfeit what we have, and to break our jars wide open and pour the contents out.
An invitation to so much more
Today, 43 percent of Americans with assets greater than $500,000 are women. And women own 36 percent of U.S. businesses. Women are also starting new businesses at three times the rate of men. What treasure and influence we’ve been given! How will we respond?
Mother Teresa said it best when she was asked, “How did you know you were called to the poor?” In her journal of Letters, she simply replied, “I was not called to the poor; I was called to follow Jesus, and He led me to the poor.”
Women Doing Well is about whole generosity. It’ll inspire you to be seized by greater passions and purpose. It’s about laying down your jar and leaving behind a fragrant aroma for all to experience.
Come join our gathering and while there, ask yourself, “How does my life demonstrate extravagant love?” What if you joined this event, and what if you walked away celebrating life more than ever before? And what if the Lord can say of you, “She has done a beautiful thing to Me…and what she has done will also be told, in memory of her” (Matt. 26:13)?
Allow yourself to become an empty page in an open book. Let Him write your story, and through Him you can leave your mark!