November 1, 2020

The Empty Vase

Greg's attitude toward me is love.

Jill Morikone

It was a typical weekday morning. Prayer time with Greg, hurried breakfast, and the scramble to grab last-minute items for work. Except today was our wedding anniversary. Eighteen years ago Greg and I had stood in a sweltering church, two kids in our 20s, and said, “I do.” We meant it then. We still mean it now. Every day I’m amazed at the kindness and strength in that man who promised to love and protect me.

That morning, as I grabbed my laptop, I reached in the kitchen cabinet for one of my vases. Ah, this one is perfect! I slid into the car seat, balancing laptop, purse, papers, and the empty vase.

Greg glanced over. “Why are you bringing an empty vase to work?”

I feigned innocence. “That’s for the flowers you’re going to give me today.”

He laughed. “I knew you were going to say that. That’s why I asked, just to hear your answer.”

You see, for 18 years Greg has brought me flowers, whether for a special occasion or even for no specific reason at all. Sometimes they’re wildflowers picked from beside the road; other times it’s an exquisite bouquet of roses. For our anniversary, though, we have a tradition: we visit the grocery store and pick out a dozen roses together. Some years they’re red, mauve, or lavender. This year they were two dozen pink and yellow.

I’ve never questioned whether he would follow through, because he’s never forgotten. Not once has he ignored it; not once has he complained about being too busy or tired; not once has he failed. Why? Because that’s who he is. Greg’s attitude toward me is love.

It took a friend to point out the obvious connection between my empty vase and our walk with God. Later, as Greg and I drove to pick out the flowers, I pondered that connection. Have you ever come to Jesus with an empty vase, waiting to be filled? Have you felt empty and broken, unsure if you could even hold the beauty and grace He longed to pour into your life? Have you questioned whether He would give you good gifts yet again?

If you have walked any length of time with our heavenly Father, then you know that He specializes in filling our empty vessels. We come empty and broken, but with eager expectation. Why? Because He will never turn us away. He will never be too busy or too tired. He will never fail.

I want to wake up each morning eager to bring my empty vessel to my Father. He’ll smile and say, “Why are you coming to Me with an empty vase?” And I’ll respond out of the love and trust in my heart, “That’s for the grace, the strength, the victories that You’re going to give me today.”

Jill Morikone is vice president and chief operations officer for Three Angels Broadcasting Network (3ABN), a supporting Adventist television network. She and her husband, Greg, live in southern Illinois and enjoy ministering together for Jesus.