What does it look like to reflect God in this world? And what sacrifice am I willing to make to do this?
A very literal example of this in Scripture has captured my heart.
During the time of the Exodus, the Israelites were in the wilderness, recent escapees from Egypt. God gave Moses instructions for building the Tabernacle, and the talented craftsman Bezalel orchestrated the construction of this worship place.
The supplies needed were gold, acacia wood, beautiful linens and more. Scripture says that, “All whose hearts were stirred and whose spirits were moved came and brought their sacred offerings to the Lord. They brought all the materials needed for the Tabernacle…both men and women came, all whose hearts were willing…” (Exodus 35:21-22).
Amongst these willing hearts was a sacrificial group of women. Neither their names nor a single detail about their lives is left for history, except this: “Bezalel made the bronze washbasin and its bronze stand from the bronze mirrors donated by the women who served at the entrance of the Tabernacle.” (Exodus 38:8). These were women of the mirrors, faces and fates unknown. Looks, likes and loves lost to history. Except for one thing: their mirrors.
Innate to women of all times is the desire to be beautiful. Today it’s easy enough for us to see our reflection so we can fix what we don’t like and admire what we do. However, in ancient times, before glass mirrors were available, the only way a woman could see her image was to look into something shiny. Polished bronze was a metal of choice to reflect one’s image. Such a lavish possession would have been a most valuable possession.
Yet, the women who served at the Tabernacle donated their bronze treasures to be melted down and formed into the priests’ washbasin for the worship of the Lord. These women were willing to neglect their own reflections so the Glory of God could be reflected.
As I think about the ancient women of the mirrors, my mind fast-forwards to the countless women of the mirrors in our own times. Faces and names flow through my mind: women in the church who show up to serve long before services start and stay long after services are over. Women who spend hours strategizing how to disciple other women and children in Jesus’ name. Women who sacrifice personal gain for love of their Savior.
Their names may or may not be known to others, but these ladies are okay with that because they live to make Jesus famous. They like to be pretty, but they are more interested in God’s reflection than their own. They give up their “mirrors” so that God can be seen most.
No beauty pageant queen could ever hold a candle to women who fully, whole-heartedly, uniquely reflect the glory of the King. Their names and faces, fates and fortunes may someday be lost to history; their sacrifices may never be known or appreciated by this world. But let me be counted amongst them – these heavenly beauties.
I will hold up my little mirror beside them, reflecting God’s glory with them, sisters in Christ, bonded together in giving everything we’ve got in service to our Lord. It is a sisterhood we share with those ancient women of the mirrors.
And this is true, unfading, wrinkle-resistant, eternity-impacting beauty that no looking glass can ever, ever measure.