Thursday, February 19, 2009

Audacious Intimacy

I have been thinking again of brokenness and how vitally important it is in the life of a leader. It is important for anyone, but to be in a place of leadership, unbroken, is to be a walking time bomb, capable of wounding the vast audience of innocent onlookers in your life. In a past post I wrote about breaking a horse, but recently I have been thinking of a breaking of another kind.

My favorite passage of Scripture to teach is the story of Mary of Bethany (Mark 14, Luke 11). Now there is the greatest of unlikely Biblical heroes. I love this story of a broken vessel. There was the vessel of costly perfume, a years wages it cost, that she broke over her Master's feet and then wiped them with her own hair. But there is the picture of another broken vessel...Mary herself. Only her brokenness would have enabled her to even approach Him, much less touch Him, for what we so often overlook in this story is the fact that men, and especially rabbis in that period in time did not even look at a woman, let alone stoop to speak with her or teach her. But this Man was different. This man looked at her, talked to her, listened to her, touched her. He understood her. And she understood Him unlike any of the men in His company of followers. They called it waste, but she understood His worth. She knew that the broken vessel represented His broken body. And the oil, the preparation for His burial. She understood and knew what was coming. Her acceptance of His impending death was her great sacrifice, not the jar of oil. She had paid attention to every syllable of His teaching. And the truth of it not only moved her, it owned her.
And He was, I believe, moved by her companions. Who were these companions? Need. Poverty of spirit. Divine longing. And brokenness. And as a result, she knew an audacious intimacy with Jesus that no man there thought she deserved. And the truth is she did not deserve it, but the great disqualifier was not her obvious femininity but rather her sinful humanity. The inconceivable reality is that we can all know this audacious intimacy and the pathway is brokenness.

Who are your companions? Who are mine? Pride? Independence? Self-satisfaction? Ego? Our closest companions as leaders must be those that surrounded Mary; need, poverty of spirit, divine longing and brokenness. They will usher us into an intimacy with God that only a broken vessel can know. As leaders, that should be our greatest goal.


Jan February 21, 2009 at 12:46 AM  

Hi Beth - I've said often in the past couple of years that if there was one phrase to describe me it would be "beautifully broken" - I went through an extremely difficult set of circumstances as a leader and as a result just felt completely broken. The good thing about brokenness is that it makes you desperate for God. You no longer care about things that used to be so important and long only for changes you in ways that are indescribable. I've seen that - for the most part - the church does not learn much from those who have been broken because they don't always look like "success stories". I find this sad because I have come to believe that we learn more from brokenness than from success and the lessons are ones we all need.

Thanks for sharing.

Eddie Taylor February 21, 2009 at 6:19 PM  
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Beth Brawley Taylor February 21, 2009 at 6:21 PM  

Thanks, Jan. I totally agree with you about learning more from brokenness than from success. Great thoughts!