As I sat peacefully at the airport awaiting my flight to depart for the east coast, I decided to let my iTunes shuffle through the assortment of music on my phone. Thanks to my son, Sammy, my iTune’s library features an abundance of music; much of it is unfamiliar to me.
One random selection caught my attention. Its unexpected, unfamiliar lyric pierced my soul:“Our hungry souls reach out to whatever fills us up, But we’ll keep on falling down unless we fall in love.” I quickly looked on my phone to identify the artist, Tenth Avenue North, and to remember the name of the song, Cathedrals.
Later that weekend at Camp Spofford, I taught on the Woman who poured out perfume upon Jesus from Luke 7:37-50. This remarkable woman—different from the woman who anointed Jesus in Matthew 26:6-13 in Bethany—lived in northern Galilee and pursued Jesus. She came uninvited to a dinner party, stood behind Jesus, and fell down and anointed His feet with ointment from her alabaster jar. Her tears washed Jesus feet, and she dried them with her dangling hair. Great love poured from her.
Described as a sinner, this woman likely tried to fill her hungry soul with behaviors which only left her empty. She kept falling down until she fell in love with Jesus. Her devotion to Jesus brought her to the home of Simon the Pharisee. Though unwelcome by onlookers, she fearlessly poured out her ointment and love upon Jesus.
With what do you fill your hungry soul? Shopping, eating, numbing out with electronics, working long hours, serving, manipulating others perceptions, studying, accumulating things, reading, exercising, traveling, etc.
Jesus knew both this woman’s heart and the unspoken thoughts of Simon. Jesus responded by sharing the parable of two debtors. Which would be more grateful for forgiveness? The debtor who owned a year and a half’s wages, or the debtor who owed two months wages? The one who was forgiven much, loved much.
This woman, who had been forgiven much, loved much.
Before all those present, Jesus confirmed her forgiven status as well as commissioned her to “Go in peace.” The woman experienced Jesus’ grace and truth. Those at the table could no longer condemn her because she was forgiven, restored, and sent by Jesus.
This extravagant expression of love impacted not just Jesus, the object of her affection, but all those present. No one missed the exchange of love, as the aroma of the ointment filled the air. She took a risk to demonstrate her deep devotion and Jesus responded with unfathomable forgiveness. It looked and even smelled beautiful. Everyone came face to face with love.
How does love manifest itself through your life? Have you fallen in love with Jesus? To whom do you direct your love?
This woman lost herself in the love of God; she fell in love. The expectations of society and the unwritten cultural assumptions did not bind her to conventional behavior. She abandoned all for Jesus. Will you let go of peoples’ perceptions and judgments and live a relinquished life for God?
How does our love for Jesus grow? It starts with knowing Jesus, spending time with Him, learning from Him, and enjoying Him. Unfortunately, few do this in today’s society. Most exclaim, I just don’t have time. Yet, there is plenty of time. It comes down to its primacy in our lives. We spend time on relationships and activities; we invest in what is important. Where does Jesus fit into these areas? What does our calendar reveal?
Deep devotion compelled this Woman to pour out perfume from an expensive container and wash Jesus’ feet with her tears. She sacrificed it all as an extravagant offering to the One she loved and that love was matched with the priceless gift of forgiveness. What costly gift can you give Jesus to serve Him and His kingdom?
Are you abandoned to Jesus or do the influence and expectation of family, friends, church and culture determine the expression of your commitment to Christ? Notice what hinders your dedication to living for Christ.
Too often I think we act like the Pharisee. We judge others rather than welcome them with love. It’s as if we have forgotten that we have been forgiven much. Has your love for Jesus grown lukewarm or even cold? Do you take Jesus’ forgiveness for granted?
I am learning to live a life of loving much, just as this Woman lived. This life is fueled by the reminder that my sins that once separated me from God are forgiven. If I don’t remind myself of this truth, I will fall down to empty things that do not satisfy rather than fall deeper in love with the One who meets my every need.
Join me in loving much.
Fall in love with your Savior, Jesus Christ by spending time with Him. Pursue Jesus, remember His sacrifice, study the Scriptures, and humbly receive peace and satisfaction. “Our hungry souls reach out to whatever fills us up, But we’ll keep on falling down unless we fall in love.” Come to Jesus afresh today. Pour out all you are and all you have; fall at His feet in love and receive the gift of forgiveness and peace.
Drips from the Word: Muse about these Bible verses. Let these truths impact your living.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.
1 John 4:7
Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.
Splashes from the Spigot: Drink from deep wells. Check out these suggested readings.
James Bryan Smith The Good and Beautiful God: Falling in Love with the God Jesus Knows. Downer Grove, IL. 2009
James Merritt. 52 Weeks with Jesus: Fall in Love with the One Who Changed Everything. Eugene, OR. 2014.