One of our values as a church is Empty the Jar
. It’s a call to expressive worship and extravagant generosity. The idea comes from the story of the woman who anointed the feet of Jesus in Luke 7. Her response to the presence of Jesus was to worship Him in a way that made others uncomfortable and to give generously to Him in a way that was impractical.
Verse 37 introduces the woman as “a sinner,” with the idea that she isn’t just living a sinful life, but that she sinned for a living—most likely as a prostitute on some level.
Can you picture this scene?
Coming in uninvited, the woman walks toward Jesus and stands at His unwashed feet. Everyone is silent. Some glare at her, expressing disapproval, while others look down, embarrassed by the awkwardness of the moment. But Jesus looks at her and smiles—I’m sure of it—as He seems delighted that she has come.
Unable to remember the last time a man looked at her like that, the woman is so undone by Jesus’ love and acceptance that her eyes well up with tears that run down her face and drop off her chin. As she falls to the ground and begins to kiss His feet, she suddenly realizes that they haven’t been washed. She can’t ask for a towel, so she lets down her hair.
In those days, a woman always wore her hair up in public. Wearing it down in front of a man who was not her husband was considered such an intimate expression that it was grounds for divorce.
As the woman washes Jesus’ feet with her tears and dries them with her hair, there is an audible gasp as everyone expects Him to rebuke her, but He doesn’t. The woman, who had an alabaster jar filled with an expensive perfume that she likely used one drop at a time in her profession as a prostitute, just empties the jar…every last drop.
There’s so much happening here that captures the heart of who we want to be as followers of Jesus.
The woman empties this jar…her whole life…out on the feet of Jesus.
Was it reckless? Yeah, it was reckless. Impulsive? I think so—at least parts of it, as I don’t think she knew Jesus’ feet would be dirty. Was it inappropriate and offensive to some? You bet. Her expressive worship and radical generosity made everyone uncomfortable. Did Jesus love it? Yeah, I think He did. When is the last time you’ve had a moment like this with Jesus?
When is the last time you passionately expressed your love for Him? When is the last time your worship of Jesus made people uncomfortable? When is the last time your offering to Him was extravagant?
This Christmas, we want to respond to the presence of Jesus in this same way. In John 3:16 the Christmas story begins this way, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son…” God loved…God gave. That’s what we celebrate at Christmas, and there is no more appropriate response than for us to give generously to Him in every aspect of our lives and to celebrate the Empty the Jar way of living.
This issue is a collection of stories of people who are committed to emptying the jar with their lives. Our prayer is that it invites you on a similar journey with Jesus.
Southeast Christian Church