Our world is going through a very difficult time. Many people carry heavy burdens. Covid, racial injustice, political divisions and other pressing issues have rendered many with broken hearts and empty hands.
Psalm 51:16-17 says: “You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it; You take no pleasure in burnt offerings. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”
If you find yourself running on empty, unable to offer God anything but a broken heart, that is enough. A broken heart is an acceptable offering to God. That’s because a broken heart is a pliable heart, a heart willing and ready to learn something new. Come to the cross with your broken heart.
If you are tired, worn out and burned out, with nothing to offer God but empty hands, that is enough. Empty hands are an acceptable offering to God. Empty hands are open hands, postured to worship, serve, and receive healing. Come to the cross with your empty hands.
In our culture, we tend to see broken hearts as weak and empty hands as lazy. But look to the cross and see how one man’s broken heart and empty hands changed the trajectory of the world.
When our hearts begin to break for the things that break God’s heart, our lives begin to align with his mission.
When our hands find the courage to fold and pray for people who do not look like us, behave like us or believe like us, our hands begin to look like Jesus’ hands.
When our hearts break over conflict and war, empty hands can reach out to build bridges of reconciliation.
When our hearts break for the lonely and sick, empty hands can hug or hold or call someone who needs care.
When our hearts break for those living in poverty, empty hands can reach out in advocacy and share what we have.
When our broken hearts become weary and despairing amidst this never-ending pandemic, empty hands can reach up to heaven in worship, supplication, intercession and confession.
Indeed, broken hearts and empty hands are gifts our Father readily accepts.
(Except from Stephanie’s 11/28/21 sermon at FeG Kiel, first Sunday in Advent).