What the world may see as a waste ~ what we, too, may be tempted to see as a waste ~ He may see as beautiful.
Something that is a waste is simply something that lacks purpose, is leftover, or is no longer useful.
How easy it can be to mislabel something as a “waste” whether a season, a situation, or even an act of service. How quickly we can conclude that something is a waste of time, waste of effort, or waste of money simply because we do not see its purpose or usefulness.
The next time we’re tempted to call something a waste, let us pause and consider this account from the Gospels, taking place just days before Jesus heads to the cross. Regardless of how it appears or how others may view it, may our desire be simply this: to do “a beautiful thing” unto Him, for surely He has done a “beautiful thing” for us.
A beautiful thing done UNTO Him:
“While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came to him with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, which she poured on his head as he was reclining at the table. When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. ‘Why this waste?’ they asked. ‘This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.’ Aware of this, Jesus said to them, ‘Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, but you will not always have me. When she poured this perfume on my body, she did it to prepare me for burial. Truly I tell you, wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.’” (Matthew 26:6-10 NIV)
When done unto Him, no act of service or step of obedience is ever a waste!
A beautiful thing done BY Him:
“Jesus replied, ’The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. Anyone who loves their life will lose it, while anyone who hates their life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me. Now my soul is troubled, and what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. Father, glorify your name!’”
(John 12:23-28 NIV)
Despite the anguish of soul, Jesus was determined to fulfill the purpose for which He was born: the cross. He knew what it was to be betrayed, to be denied, to be forsaken, to be overwhelmed with sorrow, and to experience pain to such a degree that to this day we bear witness to that pain by the very word we use to describe physical or mental torment: “excruciate” (from the Latin base “crux,cruc-,” meaning ‘a cross’). The cross, and the journey to the cross, was not easy. In fact, it was something we are told He had to ENDURE. “For the joy set before him, he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2). This joy set before Him included the resurrection – and – those whom He would save. That is you, that is me! To imagine Jesus, in the time of His greatest suffering, thinking of you and me, is absolutely mind blowing.
Is there any other way to respond to His “beautiful thing” by saying, “Lord, I want to live in such a way that my very life is a ‘beautiful thing’ unto you”?
Let us, therefore, consider the kernel of wheat. Speaking of this parable, FB Meyer stated, “We may say that the seed-germ cannot bury itself; but it can choose burial. It can be willing to be cast forth. It is not a pleasant experience for the little seed. As soon as it finds itself entombed it is seized upon by chemical agents, which pierce and tear its delicate waterproof sheath, and eat their way to its vitals. Death is no child’s-play…Presently the rootlet shoots downward, the tiny frond upward, and, almost without knowing it, the stalk begins to blossom and bear fruit, which, with every sowing, reduplicates itself. Such may your life become, if you will let God have His way. Via Crucis, via lucis: the way of the cross is the way of light.”
The way of the cross. As we continue to Journey with Jesus to the cross, may our hearts ever be moved to say with Him, “Father, glorify Your name!” A life given to Jesus is NEVER a life wasted.