I was seven years old when I began spending my summers in Chicago with my aunt and cousin. To my cousin’s friends and neighborhood playmates, I was the country cousin who spoke funny. My words were often met with odd looks and “I don’t understand what you’re saying.” I entertained these youngsters simply by being me, and sometimes this was more hurtful than it was amusing. Now that I’m much older, I remember my aunt’s friends more distinctly than I do the children my cousin and I played with for hours. Her friends were colorful with big personalities that took up all the space in a room, and there was one in particular that I will never forget.
I was nine or ten, and she was wearing all black when I first met her. So lean and stylish, she looked as if she had been a model in her younger years. It was a Sunday afternoon after church, and she had stopped over for a plate of my aunt’s Sunday dinner. My aunt was southern bred and could burn in the kitchen almost as well as my grandmother. Somewhere during her friend’s visit, it dawned on me that she had been the woman that ran to the altar for altar-call at church and fell to her knees, whaling with moans and tears. Her big hat had kept her face hidden from me during service, but when my eyes were supposed to be closed for prayer, they had been locked on her the entire time. I wondered why no one else seemed as mesmerized by her distinct and gushing cries as I had been.
Luke 7 contains the record of a woman with a beautiful alabaster box. She came to Simon’s house where Jesus Christ had been invited for dinner. Simon was a Pharisee, and they notoriously hated Jesus, but masked it at times for the sake of tricking him or finding something they could use to discredit him. This woman heard that Jesus would be in Simon’s home and came weeping at his feet. Luke 7:38(NLT) tells us, “Her tears fell on his feet, and she wiped them off with her hair. Then she kept kissing his feet and putting perfume on them.” She took the contents of her alabaster box and anointed the feet of Jesus with rare perfume.
It was customary in those times to anoint the heads of guest with olive oil as a sign of hospitality, and even though Christ was more worthy of anyone to receive this courtesy, Simon had not given it to him. Jesus Christ said of this woman in Luke 7:47-48(NIV), “47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.” 48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”” The humility of the woman with the alabaster box in Luke 7 is palpable, and my aunt’s friend, the thin, stylish woman in black, is in my mind a symbol of her. She was drenched in gratitude, and humility oozed from her being like a river of anointed oil.
When I was older, my aunt explained that this woman, her dear friend, had endured many years of domestic violence and abuse at the hands of her husband. He had been at times ruthless, and she endured it for the sake of their children. Not long after she turned to Christ and gave her life to him, her husband’s health began to decline. My aunt told us she had committed herself to his care, as he no longer had the strength or the heart to do her any harm. Her praise to God was unabashed and in total awe of how our Heavenly Father took a life as pitiful as hers and made peace where there was total desperation.
1Corinthians 4:20(NLT) tells us, “For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.” Life is not stripped of all adversities, obstacles, and troubles so that we can walk a path devoid of those things. God has designed life to teach us to walk in His power despite the hurdles that come with living on earth. Faith would not be faith if there were no challenges that reveal the magnitude of its brilliance. God’s deliverance and power manifests in our lives in many ways. There is no limit to what He can do, and we must remind ourselves of this continually.
All of us have a beautiful alabaster box. The woman who anointed the feet of Jesus Christ with rare perfume showed us that it isn’t the beauty of the outside but what we do with the contents of the container that makes all the difference. Whether our troubles are prolonged or swiftly moved out of the way, Christ will forever be the reason for our joy. Our hope in him does not disappoint, and in him our every expectation for fulfilling God’s glory is complete. We don’t have any excuses to feel distant from God, He’s brought us close to Him through Christ. And now that we have the great privilege to give back to Heavenly Father the treasure He’s placed within us, we should let the sweet perfume of our faith in Him anoint everything that we do.■
Scripture quotations marked (NLT) are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.
Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV® Copyright ©1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
“Your Alabaster Box”, written by Fran, edited by PMB for DomesticAbuseAwareness.Org ©2021. All rights reserved. All done to the glory of God through Jesus Christ, our Lord!