What does it mean to be an extravagant worshipper? Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines the word extravagant as “2a: exceeding the limits of reason b: lacking in moderation, balance and restraint, praise) c: extremely or excessively elaborate 3a: spending much more than necessary b: profuse, lavish.” The Holy Spirit is calling us to excessive worship. We’re to be overgenerous in our praises to God. Extravagant worship means to be elaborate in our offering of admiration to Him; our worship is to be over and above reasonable limits previously established.
The cause of Christ pumping away in our veins should cause extraordinary praise to the Father. I long to worship Jesus as did the woman with the alabaster jar of perfume! Excessive, abundant, expensive, superfluous lavish, costly, rich, priceless, valuable…
Jesus knew the woman who anointed Him with her precious perfume fully understood that she had been forgiven for terrible sins. Jesus explained this love she had for Him to Simon, telling him a parable about two servants who were forgiven for debts by their Master. One owed him a little; the other owed him much. Jesus continued the story:
“Two men were in debt to a banker. One owed five hundred silver pieces, the other fifty. Neither of them could pay up, and so the banker canceled both debts. Which of the two would be more grateful?”
43-47Simon answered, “I suppose the one who was forgiven the most.”
“That’s right,” said Jesus. Then turning to the woman, but speaking to Simon, he said, “Do you see this woman? I came to your home; you provided no water for my feet, but she rained tears on my feet and dried them with her hair. You gave me no greeting, but from the time I arrived she hasn’t quit kissing my feet. You provided nothing for freshening up, but she has soothed my feet with perfume. Impressive, isn’t it? She was forgiven many, many sins, and so she is very, very grateful. If the forgiveness is minimal, the gratitude is minimal.”
48Then he spoke to her: “I forgive your sins.”
49That set the dinner guests talking behind his back: “Who does he think he is, forgiving sins!”
50He ignored them and said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.” Lk. 7:41-50 The Message
When we stand before the Lord to worship Him, we are to worship Him in truth. To do so, we must ask ourselves:
1.“How big are the debts Jesus canceled for me?
2. “How generous was He toward me when considering the pain my sins inflicted upon Him?”
3. “How much thanks do I owe Him for canceling the consequences of my past?”
4. “Am I overgenerous with my worship? Do I exceed reasonable limits when praising Him? Or am I merely doing what is required, merely fulfilling the basic level of commitment?
5. “Am I simply trying to earn my right of passage (into heaven)?”
If our worship is spiritual and truthful, we will search our souls and appraise the value we place on His love for us. What can we bring to the altar that represents such extravagance?
I have had the honor of meeting some extravagant worshipers during my lifetime:
Among them is a young couple in our church who lost their young daughter through sickness, yet they worshiped their King through overwhelming grief and are still doing so today
A young man who was left paralyzed from his waist down through an accident was quickly back in our church services. With tears running down his face, his arms stretched heavenward, and his heart loving Jesus, he worshiped His Savior with extravagant thanksgiving.
The Oxford English Dictionary describes extravagant as “wasteful.” This word is particularly grabbed my attention, for one of the most beautiful accounts of extravagant worship in the Bible is this story of how the gift of perfume from the sinful woman was considered “wasteful” by those around her. But as she poured out her costly perfume from the alabaster jar, she must have wished she had even more to give Him. As she poured out her tears in offering, He washed away her brokenness. As she loved extravagantly, He forgave extravagantly.
The woman’s demonstration of elaborate love toward her Lord is a powerful example of true, heartfelt worship. Her act of worship had nothing to do with music or song, but it had all to do with being extravagant in devotion to her Savior.
Darlene Zschech. Extravagant Worship. Bloomington, Illinois: Bethany House Publishers, 2002, p. 5.
www.darlenezschech.com. Used by permission.