Saturday, September 14, 2013

Extravagant Worship.....It's Happening All Around You

Psalm 119:67(MSG)
Before I learned to answer You, I wandered all over the place, but now I'm in step with Your word.

A quiet evening to reflect on our day.
Our message at church Sunday centered around the subject of "Extravagant Worship" and all the implications within that framework.  As I listened, verses from the Bible began swirling around in my head about the principles of this type "of full on" worship to our Lord.  Our pastor used the scripture verse and subsequent story from John 12:3 where, in overt fashion, Mary (sister of Lazarus) anointed Jesus with expensive perfume and then proceeded to use her hair to wipe His feet as a tender and genuine form of honor and respect filled worship to the King of Kings.  (If you would like to hear this sermon in it's entirety, you may do so by clicking here.) This action taken by Mary would have drawn a great deal of attention to the Lord and herself as she worshipped Him in this manner.

The behaviors of Mary made me think of present day and what extravagance in worship might look like even though it might be more covert in nature.  The definition of extravagant refers to going beyond normal limits to the point of excess and even possibly to the extent of wastefulness.  I decided that perhaps I am surrounded by "Extravagant Worshippers" every single day and because I'm so busy "wandering all over the place" as today's verse describes, I miss out on them!  As I pondered this further, my mind began to flood with recognition of those sweet faces that I encounter nearly every single day and how their actions exemplify the very nature and principle of what would be considered extravagant worship.  To some these actions might be viewed as a complete waste of resources, but to those who know Jesus.....who have faith to believe that His love and grace is never ending....they will recognize more quickly the true acts of worship happening all around us.  I thought of a few examples of some "Extravagant Worshippers" that I have had the distinct privilege to observe firsthand.  Beware as you read these examples....I might have seen you worshipping today!  Thank you for your covert exaltations!

I see Extravagant Worship in the young widow who is left alone with a child to raise, but continues to get up every single morning and wipe away her tears and thank God for the provision of a home.  She insists on teaching her daughter about a loving Father who will never leave them and will always protect them with His loving hand of grace despite the absence of her earthly father.
That is Extravagant Worship and courageous!

I notice Extravagant Worship in the mother whose only daughter is stripped from her hands and taken to heaven and yet this woman continues to serve the Lord with passion and conviction, refusing to become bitter and confused by this turn of events.
That is Extravagant Worship and encouraging!

I recognize Extravagant Worship in the father who is blessed with a son and has to stand by helplessly watching while this sweet infant suffers from a dreadful disease that ends his short life, but despite this enormous loss, this same father continues to serve in a leadership role mentoring other youth to know a kind, compassionate, and caring God.
That is Extravagant Worship and strength filled faith!

I observe Extravagant Worship in the parents of a special needs child who despite long and tiring days of extensive care, they refuse to complain and never quit serving and pouring out unconditional love to their child, because they are confident that one day (maybe not this side of heaven) their child will comprehend how great the Father's love is for every person He has created.  A waste of time...I think not.
That is Extravagant Worship and humbling!

I  have watched Extravagant Worship play out through the life of a single woman who has educated herself in the most prestigious of schools and instead of utilizing her highly esteemed credentials to climb the corporate ladder, decides to isolate herself in a foreign country surrounded by poverty and immerse herself in caring and praying for the needs of malnourished orphans.
That is Extravagant Worship and complete selflessness!

I have witnessed Extravagant Worship in the married couple who already have a full quiver of children, but have listened to the command of the Father and are opening their already "complete home" to take in orphans and foster children, so that they can take care of their physical needs, incorporate them into their family, and introduce them to the Savior.
That is Extravagant Worship and tireless service!

Extravagant Worship is also on display in the one who endures chronic and sometimes debilitating pain, but rather than quit and denounce the name of God, they chose to remain steadfast in prayer, love, and devotion to the Father. 
That is Extravagant Worship and an incredible example of perseverance!

Our worship is a response to the Giver of Life.....God Almighty and can only be obtained through a continual relationship with Him!  Sometimes this worship is overt, as in the case of Mary, and other times, it is less obvious, but one thing is for certain, God is worthy of all of our praise whether we are singing from the mountain tops to Him, or quietly caring for the needs of others in His name.  Both modes are extravagant indeed!

What about you?  Have you seen some Extravagant Worship taking place around you?  I would love to hear about it.

Thank you for the privilege of worshipping You and for allowing us to remain in step with Your words.  May Your name always be glorified in all that I do and say.
In Your Name~