In John 4, Jesus declares that the Father is seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. Wow! You and I can become the answer to His search!
From the beginning, God has been searching for worshipers. He created man for two reasons: relationship and worship. He desires us to be in relationship with Him. That is made possible by Christ's redemptive work on the Cross. He paid the price for sin and, because of that, we can become part of the His glorious ohana. He also desires worshipers. He invites us not only to worship Him but to give Him extravagant worship.
Let's look at two extravagant worshipers in the Bible. The first is the woman who anointed Jesus with perfume (Matthew 26). This was not a $20 bottle of perfume from Long's. History tells us it was the perfume a woman saved up for her wedding night and usually cost about a year's wages. Once she gave it, it would be gone and possibly, even probably, not replaced. This woman was so thankful to Jesus, however, that she wanted to give Him her best. She was criticized for her extravagance by the disciples but Jesus was pleased and said that "wherever this gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her."
The second is David dancing before the Lord as recorded in 2 Samuel 6. As the Ark of God was returned to Jerusalem, David took off his royal robe, put on a priestly garment and danced before the ark "with all his might." He too was criticized. His wife despised him, mocking that he was "going around half-naked in full view of the slave girls of his servants as any vulgar fellow would!" To her, his behavior was shameful! It was not kingly and certainly not respectable. But David was not concerned. He chose to ignore the labels of dignity and respectability and give God his best because God was more important to him than his reputation.
What are some lessons we can learn from these two extravagant worshipers? How can we become extravagant worshipers ourselves?
1. Go beyond the Norm.
Don’t be satisfied with the minimum, with what is familiar and acceptable. Don't accept the routine. Can you get by with what is minimum and acceptable? Yes, you don't have to be an extravagant worshiper. But why miss out on the opportunity? Like David and the above unnamed woman, worship with passion and abandon. We worship in response to who God is. He is Extravagant to us so we should become Extravagant Worshipers to Him.
2. Push Past the Criticism.
When you choose to be extravagant in your worship, not everyone will understand. In fact, extravagant worship will make many people uncomfortable and their discomfort can turn to criticism and rejection. Those satisfied with the status quo will be convicted by the actions of those who are not satisfied with it. Both the woman and David experienced harsh criticism. But it didn't stop them from giving their all. By the way, criticizing an extravagant worshiper is dangerous. As a result of her mocking, David's wife "had no children to the day of her death". Criticism can lead to spiritual barrenness and lifelessness.
3. Give Jesus your Best.
We are instructed to "continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess His name" (Hebrews 13:15). In the Old Testament, animal, incense and other sacrifices were continually offered to the Lord. Jesus is our Great Sacrifice and no other blood sacrifice is necessary. Now, the sacrifice we offer is our praise and worship. Sometimes it is easy to worship the Lord. Other times, when things in your life are hard, it can be challenging. What should you do? Offer the sacrifice of praise! And make it your best. As David reminds us in 2 Samuel 24:24, "I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God that which cost me nothing." He was not going to try and get by with the least but was committed to giving his best. Don't give God your extras or leftovers (Malachi 1). Give Him that which is most precious! Don't give Him the least. Give Him your best!
#1 in the series, "Extravagant Worship."