What kind of worship do we give to God? Are we extravagant or stingy towards God?
Let us understand that worship is to be extravagant.
We will look at extravagance in giving, faith and offerings.
It is a valuable lesson after the story of the extravagant son and the father’s extravagant forgiveness to look at extravagant giving (John 12:1-11). Mary was an example of bounteous giving to Jesus. She was the sister of Lazarus, whom Jesus had brought back to life and naturally was very grateful. How grateful is measured by her lavish giving. Notice the elements of her gift. The perfume was contained in an alabaster box, an expensive stone vase. The amount used was about a litra, a Roman pound of around 12 oz. It was worth about 300 denarius, perhaps 300 day’s wage for a farm laborer, about a year’s income. Why so valuable? In those days spikenard or nard was only found on the slopes of the Himalaya’s and had to be imported a long, long way. How extravagant is our giving to Jesus?
Have you ever wondered at extravagant treasures in the church? Should they be sold and the money given to the poor? Jesus’ opinion on a related topic is interesting in John 12:1-11. Mary’s anointing of him was an over-the-top expensive act. I remember hearing of a family that wanted to donate their old furniture to the church and was offended when the church turned them down. Ought we give Jesus second best? In the Old Testament’s worship God expected people to sacrifice their best animals and offer up the best produce from the vegetable garden and the field. Next time we visit a beautiful church with lavish fixtures let’s think of the extravagant faith of the givers. Do we believe we are giving to a club or organization of mere human beings or the Church of the living Christ?
Jesus set us an example of personal sacrifice by offering himself completely on the cross (Hebrews 7:27; 9:14). In the manner of the sacrificial culture of ancient Israel, his offering was expensive, the best, without blemish (Leviticus 1-5). Many people offer God their best. They put their best effort into their church duties, whether finance, Sunday School, music, maintenance or prayer. Others sacrifice time for God in others ways such as in service to neighbors or taking time to learn a skill for church service. Offerings come in all shapes and sizes. Mary’s was oil, very expensive oil to anoint Jesus for his upcoming burial (John 12:1-11). What is our area of giving to Jesus? Is it a halfhearted giving, cheap and nasty, or are we thinking of ways that we can give to our Savior extravagantly?
Do we love God extravagantly?