Matthew 26:6-10 NIV
6 While Jesus was in Bethany in the home of Simon the Leper, 7 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.
8 When the disciples saw this, they were indignant. “Why this waste?” they asked. 9 “This perfume could have been sold at a high price and the money given to the poor.”
10 Aware of this, Jesus said to them, “Why are you bothering this woman? She has done a beautiful (kalón) thing to me.

I had the toughest time picking My One Word this year for several reasons.

First, I like my word, Animate, from last year, and I don’t feel like I experienced it in the way I had envisioned.

So, as soon as I began to consider a new word for this year, I couldn’t help but compare it to my old one. What might it be like if I just kept Animate? Then, I would talk myself out of the new word and be back at square one…anyone else following me?

Another reason is that I also wanted to go back and reuse my word from 2022. I really liked Imagination. As soon as I let myself consider that possibility, I immediately thought I could just relive 2022 and 2023. I could recycle my words, picking Imagine this year and redoing Animate next year. How efficient…I’m already ahead, picking next year’s word in this year’s exercise!

Except, as soon as I wrote down Animate for next year, I wanted to go ahead and do it again this year and I fell back into the same loop, talking myself out of Imagine as well.

All to say…yes, it’s been hard.

When I think about the kind of person I want to become, I want a word that opens things up.

I have had plenty of words that drove things into clear action and application. But over the last few years, my aim has been to use My One Word to gain perspective and to push me to consider something more.

I want to explore (and see) how God continues to reveal Himself to me… and also through me.

I kept wrestling. This past year, I have grown curious about the concept of being generative. And while I am curious about it, I knew it wasn’t my word. It was interesting and was the easy choice, but it wasn’t as concrete as I wanted it to be.

So, that leads me here, to Matthew 26.

My One Word for 2024 comes from this story of an extravagant offering and the gut response to that offering.

Jesus is having dinner in Bethany, when a woman comes up to him with a very expensive jar of perfume (probably worth a year’s salary!) and anoints Him with it.

This is an extravagant offering. The assessment from those observing is, what a waste!

The tendency of those in the room was to compare what was offered with what could have been done. The perfume could have been sold and the money given to those in need. Certainly, we have the same tendency, and also a slightly different inclination.

We tend to assess our efforts, sacrifice and work based on what is produced – the results. And as we become more and more efficient at getting results, everything gets reduced to a system of actions in order to get outcomes. And with this, we are likely to lose something.

I think we lose kalon.

Jesus’ assessment of the offering goes beyond the efficiency and the effectiveness of what could have been done and instead, takes in the beauty of what was done. “She has done a beautiful thing!”

The word for beautiful is kalon.

It is not simply an assessment of how something looks, but the way in which it becomes a part of something truly good.

Kalon is a kind of beauty that goes beyond simply looking good and into contributing something good.

This frees me from having to justify everything I do by how efficient and effective it will be. This in no way serves as an excuse to not get things done in a timely manner, but what it does do is give me permission to seek out and give myself to things simply because they are good and beautiful.

So, My One Word for 2024 is KALON.