On a lazy, Saturday morning last summer, pre-coffee, I was mindlessly scrolling Instagram when I stumbled upon a little square image that would uncomfortably undress my perfectly put-together mirage.
Aged, weathered hands …
Young, innocent hands …
Hands holding jars.
Jars filled with picture memories.
Jars filled with value.
Commentary: Are the things filling your jar cultivating a life of meaning and purpose?
Simple picture. Simple words. Powerful question.
I wasn’t quite prepped for such thought-provoking stimulation, yet I was stirred. While stumbling to the coffee pot, I opened my Bible app to find the story of the woman that brought her jar to Jesus. Coffee in hand, I listened as God proceeded to introduce me to a woman not so different from myself.
When one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table. A woman in that town who lived a sinful life learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, so she came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them. When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is — that she is a sinner.” Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said. “Two people owed money to a certain money lender. One owed him five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?” Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.” “You have judged correctly…. Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown.” –Luke 7:36-43, 47a (NIV)
A sinful woman, a valuable jar, vulnerability wrecking the boy’s party to get to Jesus, the stirring I felt, and the prompting from an Instagram post — I needed another cup of coffee or three.
Now mid morning, knee-deep into Luke 7 footnotes and well into that third cup, I realized I was connecting with the same woman who was brought into the streets to be stoned to death for being caught in the act of sin. I haven’t been caught in the act of sin per se, yet I sure have felt naked and exposed in front of people who seemed to have it all together. I personally am so thankful that our heavenly Father, being all loving, chose not to edit out of Scripture the fact that she was a sinful woman. In His exposing her less-than-glorious moments, I have the incredible privilege to see the shameless example of the redeemed.
Once a sinner, now redeemed, with a valuable jar on her way to Jesus.
Going for the very necessary forth cup of coffee, I inhaled and reflected on my jar, my life, my valuables. Tears stained my face, as I was caught naked in the act of sin.
I desired purpose, but I was chasing perfection.
I desired to deeply connect, yet I was manipulating relationships.
I desired more faith, but I was operating out of fear.
I desired love, but I was seeking to be liked.
I desired freedom, yet I wanted control.
Jesus clothed me in his grace and asked me to spill it.
Spill the jar.
I wept. I wrestled. I held on. Some of that pain and control was cherished. I didn’t want to lose it. What if Jesus didn’t care about the contents of my valuable jar as much as I did? That question houses what I believe is my greatest inability to spill my jar, more times than I care to admit, along with doubt in the one who loves me more than I will ever be loved.
You keep track of all my sorrows. You have collected all my tears in your bottle. You have recorded each one in your book. –Psalm 56:8 (NLT)
One of the most precious items in my jar is the tears I have shed over the valuables in it: broken relationships, desires, contentment, business, dreams, plans, hurts, freedom, restoration and fill in the blank.
The value of the jar of perfume belonging to the woman in Luke 7 was somewhere around a year’s wages. That is approximately $47,000 in today’s time. It was the most valuable thing she had, and in the middle of her wrecked life, she knew that the most valuable things had to be taken to Jesus. She spilled her everything, her valuable jar of precious tears, on the feet of the one who keeps track of every sorrow, every concern, and knows their value.
On a lazy Saturday morning last summer,
Weathered hands …
Hands holding a jar …
A jar filled with picture memories.
A jar with value.
Hope met me, and grace spilled me.
Jesus was waiting for me to spill my jar of expensive perfume so I could sit at His feet with my tears, my desires, my dreams, and savor — yes, savor (enjoy to the fullest) — the intoxicating aroma of a beautiful surrender.