Make space for the extravagant

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Reflections based on Luke 7:36–50.

‘A woman in that town who lived a sinful life … came there with an alabaster jar of perfume. As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.’

After a little break over Christmas, we are back to our Wednesday devotionals on worship…

What total extravagance. Could you picture yourself doing that: entering a home uninvited, weeping and wiping Jesus’ feet with your hair and then kissing them and pouring a year’s worth of perfume over them? Jesus not only accepted the offering of worship from this woman, but also told her that her faith had saved her. Others looked on, probably shocked that Jesus allowed ‘such a sinner’ near him and also appalled at the apparent ‘waste’ (which, incidentally is how the disciples responded to a similar incident later in Jesus’ ministry – see Matthew 26:6–13 for example).

Before we side with the onlookers, condemning the sinner as inappropriate and her actions too ‘showy’ (do we do the same in church?), think about how she truly understood the depth of her sin. She wept enough tears to clean Jesus’ feet! She knew who she was and her dire need of Jesus. As she poured out her love extravagantly, He forgave her extravagantly, extending His love and forgiveness to her.

Extravagant means ‘excessive’, ‘lavish’, ‘wasteful’ and I think worship that can be described like this comes in response to how much we truly understand what we’ve been saved from. I am enjoying listening to a song by Kim Walker Smith at the moment, which has a line in it ‘I wanna waste myself on you’. It seemed like a strange line at first, but it has been hitting my heart each time I listen to it, and, looking at this passage, I can see exactly what it means. Just as in any other love relationship, God enjoys it when we show Him how much we love Him. This woman poured out something so precious that others called her wasteful, yet Jesus understood her extravagant act – and praised her for it. Can He do the same to you?

Question: What extravagant act can you do today to show God how much you love him?

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