Significant moments in our lives have the ability to be etched into our souls forever. I call them open soul moments. Those times where something within you is changed so significantly, it’s almost as though time itself stands still. You remember where you were, what you saw, what you ate, the fragrance around you. These memories become triggers over time. A scent that takes you back in time to recall a significant moment where were changed at your core.
Revelations on a soul level can change us unconsciously at times and other times with much intention. A revelation can bring motivation to change a habit, take a different approach, or bring about a conviction that goes on to permeates everything we do from that moment on, creating ripples like a small stone entering a vast span of water.
The Word of God has the power to changes us in this way like nothing else. One verse, like the pebble effecting everything we do from then on, changing us from the inside out.
When I was first starting out in ministry, a handful of people (the creative team) had been entrusted to me to lead. It was my first big responsibility in church; I had no clue what I was doing, but thankfully this feeling of inadequacy led me to the feet of Jesus. I would sit, pray, read, learn, be changed one pebble at a time. I knew in my lack; He was able.
As I opened my Bible one afternoon, I had one of those open soul moments. A revelation that sparked a shift in my convictions around worship, faith, and the presence of God. This revelation was so significant that over a decade later I am still taken back to that moment every time that I bring my offering, every time I drive past Point Danger (where I first came across the verse and every time I read it now.
‘Six days beforehand the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honour. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.’ (John 12:1-3 NIV)
I could see her, Mary kneeling before Jesus, her attention fixed on Him alone. Her act of worship was personal, between her and Jesus, yet the outcome was that others around her were impacted, ‘the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume’.
As Mary poured out her offering of spikenard (the perfume said to be worth a year’s wages), others couldn’t help but take notice. Even if they initially failed to see what she was doing the scent alone would have caused them to realise. Years later after Jesus had gone to the cross and was raised to life again, just one whiff of the scent of spikenard would have taken them back to this significant moment.
As Mary knelt at Jesus’ feet, her faith in Him was revealed by her offering.
Some were challenged, some judged, others realised the worth of whom was among them. Regardless of what they thought, Mary’s sacrifice changed the atmosphere. The atmosphere changed naturally, filling with the scent of spikenard, but it also would have changed at a deeper level. Others would have seen that she felt He was worthy of such a costly gift.
When we reveal our own faith in Jesus; offering our time, our gifts, choosing His will above our own will, we are revealing the worth we see in Jesus. I believe a supernatural fragrance is released; an anointing, the presence of God, for He is revealed in an atmosphere of our faith.
When we kneel; whether figuratively symbolising a bowed will or literally, when we bring our offering, in essence, we are creating an atmosphere that acknowledges Jesus for who He is. Others cannot help but be impacted by this. Some will be challenged; some will judge, others will realise the worth of One that our offering is directed towards.
I want my faith in Jesus to change the atmosphere, to draw others into the revelation of who Jesus is. I want to see my house (my life, my church) filled with the presence of God.
The story of Mary inspires me to believe for more, to pour out more, to join in creating an atmosphere where others might encounter Him.
We all pour out our offering in different ways; some mid-week, some at home, some in the marketplace, on the platform and in the unseen. We pour it out as we love people and take the time to do what we know is right before Him, we pour it out in service and in joy as we do what we love before Him. The important thing is not where you pour out your offering or what it is, but rather whom you pour it out for.
One of the incredible things about the church is that as we gather together, particularly when it comes to our corporate worship, we are revealing our faith in Him, we are creating a space where He can reign and do the miraculous. It is a humbling thought that our faith has the potential to draw God near. That healing, salvation, peace, hope (in fact all of the characteristics of the nature of God) could come as a result of us kneeling, pouring out our offering, believing that He is who He says He is.
It is recorded that Jesus could perform no miracles in His hometown because of people’s unbelief (Matthew 13:58). It was the same Jesus who has done many miracles in the past, but it was people’s faith in Him that was different and thus changed the outcome.
We all have the opportunity, regardless of where we are ‘positioned’ to take part in creating an atmosphere where the presence of God permeates the air. Our faith in His ability invites Him to reveal more of Himself. It is in this place where heaven and earth collide. Our life; all its details, circumstances, joys and challenges, subject to His authority and anything becomes possible: the miraculous becomes possible.
Just like Mary’s offering, our offering has the ability to permeate the atmosphere and cause others to encounter the undeniable presence of God.
In Church when I am bringing my song as an offering I am particularly reminded of this truth. I’m motivated not only by my own love for Him but by my love for those who stand around me. I want them to experience more of Jesus. I have a conviction that my sacrifice, my praise poured out, can change someone else’s encounter with Christ. I feel the same as I write, as I look after my family as I do any myriad of things day-to-day. As I go about my day, inwardly I am kneeling, pouring my life out as an offering.
The same can be said for you and the gifts you offer:
- To the artist: paint before Jesus and believe for the anointing as others view your work.
- To the manager: use your gift to lead people in the ways of God, that they may one day come to know Him.
- To the parent: your unseen work is your gift to Him (and your family) believe that it carries with it an eternal reward.
- To the many teams that make up Church each week: your offering counts- we are surrounding people in an atmosphere of faith.
- To every person use what is in your hand and engage your faith.
For altogether these things make up our spiritual acts of worship. This is our everyday ordinary lived out for His glory (Romans 12).
Oh that the house (your house) would be filled with the fragrance of our offering.
What is your offering, your gift poured out at the feet of Jesus?
Next time you pour your offering out, engage your faith, believe that others would be drawn to Him as you create an atmosphere of worship.
Together on this pilgrimage,
Would love to hear your comments, questions and feedback as though this was a chapter within a book titled ‘A pilgrimage to worship.’ The post is longer and a little deeper for this reason. D
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