A Poured Out Offering

I was in my second semester of grad school, and interning at Wesley was the last thing on my mind.

I was ready to go. I had never felt connected to Athens. I wanted something different, a grand adventure. My top choice was to move to London and work in digital marketing. I figured I would stay for 3-5 years, travel, get some experience, and come back as a whole new gal.

At the same time, my discipler and I were learning about sabbath. She encouraged me to take one day a week to lay down everything, and have fun with God. Every Friday I clumsily discovered what it felt like to rest in Jesus. I read, prayed, played, slept. Sometimes I felt aimless. Sometimes I felt refreshed. Somewhere in the stillness, one image kept looping through my mind.

“While He was in Bethany, reclining at the table of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head. Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, 'Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year's wages and the money given to the poor.' And they rebuked her harshly.” - Mark 14:3-5
 
A poured-out offering. I wasn’t hearing much from God, but that broken jar did not leave my mind. I was not studying this story at the time. I just could not stop thinking about it. Every time it crossed my mind, I threw up a simple prayer, “Yes, God, I want to be a poured-out offering...” And I continued with my day.

The next month, Annie Downs came to speak at a Wesley service. I was excited, but not necessarily expectant. I knew she used to intern at Wesley and would probably talk about that. The best way to explain my approach to interning at the time is: my ‘no’ was on the table. I was not about to forego a year of my life to stay in Athens. It was not in my realm of possibilities.
 
To my surprise, Annie’s talk was not about interning. I think she preached on revival. I don’t clearly remember because of what happened next.
 
“I wasn’t going to talk about this,” she said, “but I feel like I am supposed to share why I decided to intern at Wesley back in the day.”

“Here we go…” I thought, sitting back in my seat ready to tune out for a bit.
 
“I was praying about it one day,” she continued, “ and I opened my bible to the story of the woman who poured out the bottle of perfume on Jesus’ head.”

I went rigid. That numb, tingly feeling spread across my face.
 
She started to choke up. “I saw where it said the perfume was worth at least a year’s wages, and I knew I wanted to sacrifice a year of my life to this place.”

“Nope.” I thought. “This is just a coincidence. This doesn’t mean anything.” But something shifted. I slowly slid my ‘no’ off the table and replaced it with a ‘let’s talk about this. You free Friday?’

I prayed about it. A lot occurred in a week and a half, but the gist of it is this: by the next Friday, I was calling my parents to shock them with the news that 1) I was staying in Athens and 2) I would be working for free.
 
I could tell testimony after testimony of the provision and grace that flooded my life after that most unexpected decision, but I’m going to stick with my favorite moment to date:

A few months later, I went to an encouragement room after a Wesley service. It was so encouraging I’m sure, but again, I don’t remember what was said because of what happened next.
 
Our time was up. I was about to leave when one of the interns stopped me. “One more thing,” he said. “I keep seeing you breaking open a bottle of perfume on Jesus’ feet.”
 
I just stared at him. “Yeah,” I said meekly, expectantly.

“Yeah,” he said, “Jesus is so pleased with your offering. But He looks at you with the most loving look on His face, reaches down, picks everything up, and hands it back to you ten-fold.”
 
I am still reeling from that word. There is not a more accurate picture of the past year and a half of my life. Every time I thought I was sacrificing, every time I thought I was giving my all, Jesus has out-done me. I have given a lot. But I really can’t wrap my mind around what I have received.
 
This story is not meant to release pressure. This story is not meant to be a prescription of what deciding to intern should be. This story is simply a testimony. This story is meant to release faith. Jesus is overwhelmed by His love for you, dear one. Whatever you are weighing for your future, whatever you are ready to sacrifice, just wait. He will not be out-done.

Author  |  Claire Jordan

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