The Alabaster Jar

Oh one of my favorite books is by Watchman Nee called 'The Normal Christian Life'. If you have not read this book, it's worth buying it even just for the last 2-3 chapters! They are seriously life changing, especially the chapter where he writes about WASTE.

They say this is about what the alabaster jar of Mary's might have looked like. The quick history here is that this woman was a wayward type, and most history says she was a prostitute. We can only assume where or how she got this perfume. Your guess is probably similar to mine. Mary Magdalene, a woman from a town near the Sea of Galilee, was not widely accepted by the Pharisees or the people Jesus hung out with because of her reputation. Gosh, Jesus is so different He doesn't judge! What a concept! Jesus did hang out with the slum, the tax collectors and the sinners. And Mary was of that crowd. Oh I love that about Him, don't you!? And on that night when Jesus and His buddies were having dinner, Mary stopped by and lavished this expensive perfume onto His feet, and spreading it with her hair. {Matthew 26:7}

When it happened everyone thought she was "wasting" her precious perfume. I mean it was after all, all she probably had to her name, and here she was pouring it all out on Jesus' feet. The men at the dinner thought that the money for it could have gone to the poor. But Jesus sternly tells them that He won't be around much longer, and they can do that when He's gone. So Jesus allowed her to continue, this was unheard of! Another reason why I love and adore Jesus.

The way Watchman Nee puts it is this: Here is the challenge; that you pour out all you have, your very self, unto Him; and if that should be all he allows you to do, if that is all you have, that is enough. It is not first of all a question of whether "the poor" have been helped or not. That will follow, but the first question is: Has the Lord been satisfied? Has the Lord been loved by you?"
Oh my! Boom boom POW! I mean think of that little paragraph!!! Think of how the emphasis in Christianity is do do do. As Jesus says, and as Watchman says, that will come, there is a time to feed the poor and volunteer etc. But are we being with God? What are we giving Him of us? Are we showing Him how much we love Him?

Watchman Nee again: the Lord is not so concerned about our ceaseless occupation in work for Him. That is not His first object. The service of the Lord is not to be measured by tangible results (oh thank heavens). No, my friends, the Lord's first concern is with our position at His feet, and our anointing of His head. Whatever we have as an "alabaster jar": the most precious thing, the thing dearest in the world to us--yes, let me say it, the outflow from us of a life that is produced by the very Cross itself--we give that up to the Lord. Some see this as waste, but God seeks this above all things.

Jesus longs to be with us! To commune, to abide with Him. He longs for us to lavish ourselves on Him, to give Him our hearts, to worship Him, sing to Him, cry out to Him! All too much this is missed in the church today from what I see around me. We get too preoccupied with doing, and the first things first is being. Out of being will come great doing, but God wants, He is begging for our alabaster jars! Let's "waste" ourselves on the Lord!
Mary went on after Jesus' death to do great things, indeed. But if it wasn't first her hearts position in "wasting" her perfume on Him, then maybe her life of service would have looked differently. Because when He is precious to our souls, nothing nothing will be too good, nothing too costly for Him; everything we have will be poured out upon Him.
How precious is the Lord to you? I believe the Lord will open our eyes to His worth, and therefore we will do nothing but fall at His feet. That is the kind of life He is interested in, a life laid at His feet. Oh how beautiful!

There are so many ways to lavish on and love on our Lord. I'm thankful for a God that embraces that.


  1. Just riveting.

    These quotes by Nee, indeed, pack a punch to all our religious activity.

    Thank you for calling us back to a simplified focus here. For this is certainly *life* and fulness of joy . . .

    "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing." (John 6:63)

  2. This is amazing! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Thank you ladies for all your feedback and comments, they are such an encouragement to me!

  4. Just beautiful. I love the picture of the jar. The quotes were powerdul and quite amazing and you tied it all together so beautifully..what a gift. Thank you.

  5. Mmm. So great. I will go get this book! Thank you for posting.

  6. Wow. Thank you. I will have to add this to my book list.

  7. What a GREAT reminder! I'm in the midst of a difficult trail right now & have actually found that it truly helps to start my prayers with PRAISES for what God has/is doing versus pleas for what He's not or needs to do :) I truly need to give more of myself to HIM rather then expecting He to give more of Himself to me. Love this!!

  8. That book is a classic!! Thanks for sharing both in words and picture. Where is the painting from? I love it! BTW...where's your purdy face...the contributor info is missing! :)

  9. So glad you all read this piece, it's uplifting to have comments and be encouraged! I love life changing books or chapters--I just keep seeking and seeking, and I'm grateful and humble God works through me to help even one get through the day a little easier! I cherish readers more than words can express, and thank you Ruth, I will mention it!!! I didn't even notice :o

  10. gina. oh, gina.
    love your heart for him and the gift he's given you to shout out his truth.


  11. Very nice article here. I'll have to check that book out. I'm glad my painting was put to good use here. It's my wife's favorite Bible story so I painted the image for her as a gift.

    Thanks for crediting me an linking back to me.


  12. Exactly what I needed today! I love how you make my thoughts swirl!!!!

  13. I love Watchman Nee and I absolutely love your heart Gina. Oh to waste ourselves on Jesus!!