Conversations in the Gospel of John :: Extravagance

This week you’re going to hear from my dear friend Jamie. I love her intensity, vulnerability, and the way in which she loves Jesus – with reckless abandon! You will love reading her posts this week as she draws insight and encourages you from John 12.

Jamie Warren serves in the prison ministry with her husband, and there’s no place she’d rather be on Sunday nights.  God has also richly blessed her with a rich relationship relationship with her daughter.  Jamie wants to know the things of God that she doesn’t and wants to experience the things of Him that she has never seen.

Enjoy!

Haiti

Often when I read the Bible I envision that I am watching the scene unfold from a distance and then read it again as if I am a person in the story.

In John 12:1-7, we see Jesus with his close friend Lazarus (who had recently been raised from the dead) along with several other friends. Out of nowhere, Mary (Lazarus’ sister) takes some extremely expensive perfume, pours it over Jesus’ feet and then wipes it off with her hair.  Some in the group reacted indignantly, “What a waste! We could’ve sold the perfume and given the money to the poor!” Jesus praised her for her act of worship.

But, step back for a minute. What about Martha (the sister of Lazarus and Mary)? As the hostess of this gathering, how did she feel when her own sister disrupts dinner?

What did Martha say in the aftermath of her sister’s actions?  “Can I get anyone some more tea?”

Now take a minute and consider Mary.  Why did she do such a crazy thing?  Wasn’t she worried about what others would think?  Her actions seem so out of place and so very uncomfortable.  I wonder, did she plan this or was it spur of the moment?

Or was it unrestrained, extravagant worship? It seems as though she was so overwhelmed by Jesus that she didn’t take time to consider what others thought, she was compelled to worship right then and there.

Describe a time when you were overcome with worship. How did you feel and how did you respond?

In the photograph above, I am with a group of believers in Haiti taking rice, beans, and clothing to families in need. This particular household consisted of two families, both abandoned by their husbands and fathers. When I asked how I might pray for them, one of the women responded by asking me to thank God for bringing me by to visit. Her words seemed so out of place, thanksgiving didn’t fit the situation.  From my perspective her circumstances seemed desperate! Yet, she wanted to thank Him for something that seemed so small and insignificant compared to her great need.

Mary’s actions, and this Haitian mother’s response, cause me to wonder, “What does extravagant worship look like for you and for me? Maybe like Mary, it means worshipping Jesus in such a way that causes others to ridicule. Or maybe it’s like this mother; extravagance is thanking Him for the simplest things in life and recognizing His great gifts of grace.

Lord, help us be more like Mary – able to worship you in the moment. And, give us the grace to see Your provision in the simple things – like this beautiful woman in the mountains of Haiti.

 

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