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Faith Imagined: My Broken Alabaster Jar

Faith Imagined

Alisa Hope Wagner: Christian Writer

June 5, 2010

My Broken Alabaster Jar

In Mark 14.1-11, Jesus was dining at a Pharisee's house when a sinful woman came and broke a alabaster jar over his body that covered him with a very expensive perfume. The religious leaders were indignant. They shamed her by saying that the money could have been spent on other good works.

I imagine the woman kneeling there. God put a passion in her heart, and she obeyed Him even though she was humiliated in the process. She didn't know that she was anointing the Son of God before his death and resurrection. She just knew that she was being obedient.

She held two broken pieces of alabaster jar in each hand and endured the shame and judgement thrown on her by the religious leaders. They had their agenda of what good works were important, and hers didn't follow suit of what they expected.

Recently, I experienced a time when I began to question the fruit of what God is doing in my life. I wasn't breaking my alabaster jar over a certain good work passion, and I lost confidence in my God-design and purpose. Were the good-work fruits that I was producing a harvest from God? Was I being obedient to His will?

I knelt in my closet holding my pieces of alabaster up to God and begged Him to show me what I was doing wrong. For the past several years, God has completely turned my life upside down. I have been obedient (though, not perfect) to the Holy Spirit's leading. I know that I have changed, but I wasn't directly achieving a specific good-work fruit, and my trust in God and my obedience to Him faltered. Was I really hearing from God?

After I humbled myself before the Lord, God beautifully brought me to a verse about good works. The crowd was searching for Jesus because He just performed many miracles. And they asked Him, "What must we do to do the works that God requires?"

Jesus answered, "The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent" (John 6.28-29 NIV).

As I knelt down in my closet, God asked me, "Will you believe Me?"

This belief that God requires of me is not just simply a belief that He exists. Many people believe in God and Jesus. This belief He requires of me is a belief that He is creating amazing fruits in my life, and I daily must believe that His promises will come to pass. Good works come in all forms, and they should be an outward expression of my inward relationship with Christ. He doesn't judge my works (my good works will never measure up to God's perfection). He judges my heart. Do I believe that my simple acts of obedience are valuable to Him even if the world claims them as unimportant? Am I being obedient to His will even though I can't gage or measure the harvest to the world's standard of success?

There are a lot of Christians out there with many passions. This is an awesome thing. We are all called to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and our fruits will all look differently. If you read through Jesus' life in the Gospels, you will see that He harvested many fruits in a vast range of areas. I believe that we can appreciate every faith-filled good work, but God will give us specific passions for the "holes" that He wants us to fill. We are all uniquely designed with a purpose to help with certain needs. We can't all be passionate about the same thing.

My wish is that Christians stop criticizing other Christians for being passionate about different good-works. God put that passion in each of us. We are simply breaking the alabaster jar over our own personal relationship with Christ, and He is directing the flow of perfume, anointing our Kingdom Purposes along the way. The Enemy loves it when we fight against each other. A house divided falls.

"Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them, 'Every kingdom divided against itself will be ruined, and every city or household divided against itself will not stand'" (Matthew 12.25 NIV).

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Blogger Just Be Real said...

What an inspiring post, especially the part that "He is creating amazing fruits in my life and to believe that His promises will come to pass." Thank you for sharing. Blessings.

3:31 PM  
Blogger Joan said...

Alisa - this is a great post. There are many modern day "Pharases" who place a great emphasis on what we "must do" and "must not do". Often we are left with the feeling that we will never measure up. But it is by God's grace and His grace alone that we are saved. And he is able to keep that which we have committed unto Him.

Blessings to you!

3:31 PM  
Blogger Susie said...

Great post, and I have known that feeling in my past. So thankful God spoke through to you personally. It is so hard to not work to please man when they are often talking the loudest, but ultimately we have to please HIM alone.

4:44 PM  
Blogger Leah @ Point Ministries said...


In our modern day churches we are losing two generations from the church because of this very thing....our judgmentalism and our hypocritical attitudes.

Simply because your worship does not fit their definition of worship does not mean it is wrong. Jesus knows your heart!! Break that alabaster jar, girlfriend!! He is smiling upon you!!


4:48 PM  
Blogger Stuff could always be worse said...

Yes such a great post, so agree that Christians should quite bashing each other..

5:36 PM  
Blogger Melinda said...

You hit on the head every time, Alisa. God is challenging me to believe Him -- to trust Him even when I don't understand the timing or method. I believe He spoke a promise into my heart when He first called me into ministry and He keeps His promises. I hold onto that promise and trust He knows how to get me there.

Thanks so much for rejoicing with me over my son's recent good news. I am still thanking God over that one and know He is the best Doctor my son could ever have.;0)

5:46 PM  
Blogger Karen Lange said...

We do need to remember that we are on the same team, and need to work together not against each other. Good post. Have a blessed weekend:)

5:46 PM  
Blogger Kristine said...

Amen and amen! We are in agreement, my sister.

I love that we are "breaking the alabaster jar over our own personal relationship with Christ, and He is directing the flow of perfume, anointing our Kingdom Purposes along the way."

Right on!

5:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a great and inspiring post. You so eloquently posted God's truths and stand firm in not listening to Satan's lies coming through others. This very thing happened to me once. My Christianity was challenged as someone didn't perceive or see my particular fruits. I was with relatives this past week who expressed their reason for not going to church was due to hypocracy of Christians (Pharisees; and fighting among each other). We Christians can do so much damage when we exhibit a judgmental spirit towards others when God plainly states in His Word that this is His job. He takes care of convicting us of our wrongs or disobediences, and your post so beautifully expresses your desire to press into Him more when others attack or hurt us with their words or actions. Yes, it is good to listen to the counsel of others, but, when it goes against what God speaks to our hearts, then we must stay close to Him and disregard the false words and teachings of others.

Sweet Blessings to you and God Bless you for seeking him and standing firm.

Love your website.


6:23 PM  
Anonymous Shelby said...

Alisa, this post was much needed by me at this juncture in my life. Thank you for reinforcing that which I should hold close in my heart.

6:47 PM  
Blogger Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Alisa -

Scripture says others will know we're Christians by our love for one another.

Each of us have a place in the Body of Christ. We cannot all do the same thing. People get enthusiastic about a particular ministry and think everyone should be involved in their area. Bottom line, we're to seek the Lord and follow the leading of His Spirit.

Susan :)

6:56 PM  
Blogger Bernadine said...

Alisa, this post has so many nuggets to take away. I too wish that the body of Christ would realize that just because someone does it differently or has a different passion does not mean they're not in God's will.

Thanks for sharing

10:51 PM  
Blogger Dean Spencer said...

Something struck me odd as I was reading your post. You said that you wish that Christians would stop bashing each other for being passionate about different good-works.

The fact that we're able to do anything at all for the glory of God is a miracle in itself. But to be critical of how God would use us differently (as with the hands, feet, eyes, nose, etc. analogy) actually diminishes the work of the Holy Spirit.

On behalf of other Christians who believe this is wrong, I apologize. You ought to use the gifts that God has given you in a way to bring Him glory. If it wasn't (bringing Him glory), He'd let you know.

You keep doing what God would have you do, and everything will take care of itself. God bless!

10:56 PM  
Blogger V said...

this is such a beautiful post!!
My wish is that Christians stop bashing other Christians for being passionate about different good-works. God put that passion in each of us. We are simply breaking the alabaster jar over our own personal relationship with Christ, and He is directing the flow of perfume, anointing our Kingdom Purposes along the way. The Enemy loves it when we fight against each other. A house divided falls."

I share your same wish!!!! and this really hit my heart hey! Why do we do this so easily with other people. Not cool man!! We must love more, that's why the world is up in smoke!!!

11:46 PM  
Blogger May said...

Well written...very uplifting...thanks for sharing this message.

11:12 AM  
Blogger Braley Mama said...

Alissa, Turn your eyes upon Jesus, and the things of this world will look strangely dim. Keep up the good fight, I know you will. Praying for peace for you. Thank you for this amazing lesson!

1:56 PM  
Blogger Chocolate Covered Daydreams said...

This resonated deep within. I have recently experienced exactly what you've shared. I've learned to listen to God's calling and not rely on anyone else's input.

Thanks for sharing your God wisdom.

4:55 PM  
Blogger For His Glory said...

Thanks for sharing your heart, Alisa. It was encouraging for me to read!

6:50 PM  
Blogger Amy Sullivan said...

Being obedient to God and yet facing the judgement of others is often very difficult, but the results are always worth it! Good message.

8:15 PM  
Blogger Lynda Young said...

The timing for this post is impeccable. As I read through it I felt God was speaking to me. I've felt very torn with which direction to take in my life.
Thank you.

3:01 AM  
Anonymous Esther said...

Excellent post! So often its easy to forget all Jesus wants from us is our belief of him -- our continuing, active faith in who He is and who He says we are!
Thanks for this!

7:20 AM  
Blogger Randi Troxell said...

i needed this today...

some personal things are going on.. nothing bad.. but this helped me to put it into perspective... thank you!

10:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


12:22 PM  
Blogger tansy. said...

Thank you. Thank you. I'm at that place right now in my spiritual journey that I'm having these problems. And you've brought some light unto them.

1:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I want to be obedient to only Him and not to man. I love how you put this.


8:22 PM  
Blogger Karen said...

Amen! Beautifully worded!

9:49 PM  
Anonymous JLJ said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

11:54 PM  
Blogger Kristen Torres-Toro said...

It's such a humbling question--will you choose me? Will you believe in me? Will you love me? Not because you have to... because I want you to choose me.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Deborah Ann said...

Thank you for sharing your heart, Alisa. Sometimes we think everyone else has it exactly right with God, and we're the only ones who don't. And yes, it would be nice if we all stopped being so critical of each other's callings. Because that's what they are...callings.

11:50 AM  
Blogger Alene said...

Awesome post. I just have to say AMEN! It's all about Jesus and His kingdom. Let's be kingdom builders!

12:00 PM  
Blogger OceanDreams said...

Loved this and I totally agree, I love that God gifted different people with different gifts of passion...I am working on letting go of some fears and using my passions for God's glory. Thanks so much for your prayers and your sis too! I am feeling SO much better and just wanted you to know, thanks again.

1:01 PM  
Blogger Maggie said...

I am new to your blog and opened it and imediatly right off the bat loved it! What an amazing post! You are such an amazing writer!

I am following your blog, I would love if you stopped by my blog and followed me.


2:58 PM  
Blogger 3 Blessings said...

I love this post. It is so true. Each of us is called to HIS purpose for our lives. If each is obedient to HIS calling HIS will for our lives is completed. However, so many times we feel a need to place our two cents about the work others are doing as if it is our place to judge HIS will for their lives. Don't you know the enemy just loves that. I love how this post makes me think. Thank you friend.

7:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yesterday, i was at a place where i had so questions for God because I wasn't seeing the fruit of my labour in his vineyard. I was so frustrated i started crying. A number of minutes later, i heard the word gestation period in my spirit. As always, after hearing from God like that, i go on to study the word he gives me. My research revealed that -For mammals the gestation period is the time in which a fetus develops, beginning with fertilization and ending at birth. The duration of this period varies between species. Smaller species normally have a shorter gestation period than larger animals.

In other words my harvest is going to be very "large".

To all those wondering what is taking their seed so long to harvest. Rejoice because your harvest will be worth every extra day you waited.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Sandra Heska King said...

To have His fragrance permeate my passion . . .

5:52 PM  
Blogger ********Shelly******** said...

Thank you....

12:37 AM  
Blogger Family, Money and Stuff said...

Wow!! Amen, sister! I'm in the middle of reading "Out of your comfort zone - is your God too nice?" I think you'd enjoy it.

God's shaking me too - challenging me in legalistic thinking, challenging me to not care what others think of me but instead to please God FIRST and foremost. -- that sounds all nice and warm and fuzzy, but MAN! It's hard work to allow God to turn us inside out, turn the tables, and become something new. It's hard work to die.

Thanks so much for sharing the insights he gives you. I praise God for using you as he does.


3:17 PM  

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