Empty Seats and Little Love

October 29, 2015

She burst through the door uninvited. She wasn’t the kind to be invited. Everybody knew about her.  It was her


The sinful woman in town. 


The host shuffled around while nervously touching his phylactery. Gasps rose as pairs of eyes followed her movement. Then an awkward silence fell over the guests as she started to weep at His feet. Some glared at her disapprovingly. Some whispered behind their hands.

But she was unaware of them. Her eyes were fixed on Him only. She couldn’t stop the tears rolling down her cheeks and unto His feet where she was kneeling. She tried to dry them with her hair but the steady stream wouldn’t let up. She took a precious alabaster jar and poured its expensive contents over His feet while kissing them, the perfume filling the air. She was not deterred by their disapproval. Their gossip and stares didn't slow her down. Her focus was on the One she loved more than her dignity or their approval. The Pharisee who owned the home where the celebration was held thought 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 knew what he was thinking and called him over. He told Simon the Pharisee a story about small and big debts being forgiven and asked Simon who would be more grateful; a man who owed little and the debt was forgiven or one who owed a ton of money and whose debt was written off. Clearly the one who owed more was most grateful. Then Jesus said about the woman at His feet, “Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven- for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”  Luke 7:36-50


I want to love like her.


Not sparingly.

Not holding back.

Not utterly reserved or prim-and-proper society approved.

Not tight-lip-mumbling.

Not show up for duty church.

Not more concerned about my hair or make-up or image.

Not aware of the staring faces around me.

Not like I’m reciting feel-good lyrics to a catchy tune.

Not like I’m part of a spiritual rotary club meeting.


No, I want to love with abandon. I want to love Him who gave everything with the jumping-for-joy-healed-leper-kind-of-love. For He is worthy. I want to pour out all I am because His faithfulness and love endure forever. Because He pulled me out of a pit of sin and brokenness and gave me a Hope and a future. Because He paints the sky with pink and orange and send little birds and gigantic elephants to sing His praise. Because He sees every tear I cry on the inside and catches the ones rolling down on the outside. Because He carries me when I am tired and protects me when I am afraid. Because He loves me despite myself and without me having to earn even one ounce of His grace washed me white as snow.





He is worthy.


I left the worship event with a heavy heart; saddened by rows of empty seats. 


A night of worship. 


A special night set apart from daily life. A pause to remember that He is worthy. Yet there they were. Rows of empty seats. An empty place of worship. So I’ve wrestled with this heaviness in me since then knowing that it was about more than just people not showing up. It bothered me because I know deep down that my heart is often so reluctant to worship Him even when His mercies are new every morning.  


Little love.


It was later after He pried opened the fists of rocks I picked up since then and after showing me the sin in the mirror that I realized even worse than an empty seat, is a seat filled by an empty heart. Or a seat filled by a heart full of pride and self-righteousness that forgot the multitude sins forgiven by grace. 


It is an empty forgetful heart that loves little. 


I don’t ever want to forget. 


I want to wake up remembering His goodness. 


I don’t ever want to love little again.




Expensive perfume

I have not,

nor a precious

Alabaster jar

to bring.


All I have to offer You

is a heart so often filled with

love for self.

Even in my search for You-

even in seeking to love You more

I cannot get rid of this nagging,

fleshly self asking,

“What is in it for me?”


Lord, that my eyes would truly see You,

that my worship would spill out to You.

That my life would bless You with nard

not bought with money;

that my tears of gratitude would streak Your feet-

my proud hardened heart poured out

because You tell me to come

to the throne of mercy

where my Pharisee heart

can find healing and rest in







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