Posted by: mikenicholsblog | April 10, 2011

be broken, don’t bite

It was a friend from my past who reminded me. The event took place at least 35 years ago, a show of youthful enthusiasm, combined with immature logic. I was working for a church during my summer break and wanted to motivate some children. When they accomplished the goal, I willingly bit a goldfish in half and swallowed it. (yuck!). Please don’t think I’m crazy, because it also sounds sickening to me (I still blow great bubbles). My intentions were noble in working for the Lord, but a more mature me would never do something like that. Although it was completely impulsive and only happened once, someone remembered it almost four decades later. Just this week, I read of a broken alabaster jar, and an act of devotion that reminded me of my youthful energy.

I’m sure you’ve read the story, and know of the woman’s devotion. If you are a long time follower of Christ you may even remember a song with the lyrics, “broken and spilled out, just for love of you Jesus.” I believe those words related to an event that took place in Bethany as Christ was nearing the cross. The scene takes place at the home of a man named Simon the Leper where Jesus was reclining at the table. A woman comes to him with an alabaster jar, breaks it and pours the ingredients (extremely expensive perfume) on his head. You can imagine the response. The disciples were indignant! This perfume was highly valuable and could have been used to help the poor. One account of the story explains that the perfume could have been sold for more than a year’s wages.

Her impulsive act was surely out of the norm, but was uniquely honored by Christ. You and I would likely have aligned ourselves with the indignant disciples and rebuked her. We would have thought of the value of the perfume, and missed it’s divine significance. But Christ didn’t miss the beauty of her devotion. Pick up the story in Matthew 26:10.

Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing for me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured out this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached, throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.”

I don’t understand all the depth in this passage, but this woman was symbolically preparing Jesus’ body for burial. Her act of devotion was not casual, it was expensive and sacrificial. None of us viewing this event centuries later would classify her gift as a waste. But in the moment, the disciples did. Christ however, never classifies giving our best for Him as a waste. In fact, look at her legacy: “I tell you the truth, wherever this gospel is preached, throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” And it still lives on today!

Eating goldfish certainly doesn’t appeal to me today. But I wonder what else I did that summer 35 years ago that is still remembered? With youthful enthusiasm, I did the unthinkable. By sacrificing expensive perfume, the lady with the alabaster box did the unimaginable! My act is remembered as a silly act. Her’s is remembered with eternal significance. Could it be that in our desire to be mature and logical, we have lost the joy of being spontaneous and radical for Christ?

If you have lost the spiritual spark of your youth, ask our Father to renew it. It just may be your legacy! Be broken and spilled for Him … just don’t eat goldfish!


  1. Can’t help but laugh when I think of you biting the goldfish in half — hahahaha

    Great message though —

    Thanks for sharing the Word with us.

    Brad Wise

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