My devotion today told the story of the woman who anointed Jesus with costly perfume as he sat at dinner with his disciples. Her action was criticized by those who thought it was money that could have been better spent on the poor.
Jesus responded that she had done a beautiful thing and this act was in preparation for His death. He also added that this wherever the Gospel was told this woman’s story would be included.
According to the Gospels, this was not a cheap jar of perfume purchased at the local storefront.
Matthew referred to it as “an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment.” Mark called it “an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly.” John says it was “an expensive ointment made from pure nard.”
Researching the fragrance “nard” it appears it would probably have been imported from India and according to the complaint of Judas, it would have cost at least a year’s wages.
Not only did this woman share this expensive perfume, which may have required all her savings to purchase, she took quite a brave step in coming in and kneeling at Jesus feet. He was having a meal with his disciples. Not a place for a women to enter except to serve the men.
This was extravagant worship! She gave all she had both in her finances and in her courage to act.
Makes me wonder how much my worship is extravagant. When in a worship service at church, do I just sing the words or do I really think about their meaning and sing to God from my heart? Sadly I think how many times people wonder into worship minutes after it has started and greet others as they amble to their seats? Is our worship authentic or do we just go through the motions?
Worship is more than just a service at church also. The word is derived from the Old English weorþscipe, and simply put means to give worth to something.
I give worth to God by much more than the half hour or so of singing on Sundays. I give (or don’t give) worth to God by the way I live, how I treat others, how I spend my time, my energy, my resources.
Thinking of this woman’s extravagant worship, I ask myself “Does my life reflect that kind of love and commitment to God?”
In line with that thought the story of David in 2 Samuel tells of worship that is extravagant. David wanted to buy a field from Araunah the Jebusite to make an offering to God. Araunah offered to give David the field, the wood for the fire and the animal for the sacrifice. David insisted on paying for it all and said, “I will not make an offering to God that does not cost me something.”
Dear Lord, may all I say, all I do, all I think be an offering of extravagant worship and may I be willing to give all of me – talent, time, energy, finances – to honor you.