Every time I think of the idea of extravagant worship, the one word that pops to mind is the word Prodigal. Commonly associated with the parable of the lost son in Luke 15:11, it’s easy to see why we easily interchange the word lost with prodigal.
However, the word prodigal actually means to be wastefully extravagant. When I look at the story of the lost son again, with that definition in mind, it feels like the father in that story is also prodigal. Prodigal in how he loved and received his defiant son.
God, in His thoughts toward us, is very prodigal. So much that He, in his all-powerful nature, saw it necessary to come to earth and die a scandalous and shameful death, all in the name of being able to connect with us. The full (not partial or conditional) punishment of our sin was upon Him (Isaiah 53:5). Such grace is too wonderful for me.
It’s thoughts like these that cause me to think, our sacrifice to God has to be extravagant. Not just extravagant but prodigal.
Here are three things I have learnt about serving God.
- It’ not quantitative but qualitative. It’s not the quantity of our giving that makes it prodigal. It’s the value we add to it that makes it special. In Mark 12:41-44, we see Jesus commenting on the offering of a poor widow who offered 2 cents. Jesus tells those around Him that the widow gave more than rest. Because while the rest gave out of their abundance, she gave all that she had. It’s this same principle that separated Abel’s offering from Cane’s offering in Genesis 4. Abel gave his very best, while cane gave sparingly.
- It’s always about Others. In Luke 9:47 Jesus, knowing the thoughts of his disciples, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For it is the one who is least among you all who is the greatest.” Several times in the scriptures, Jesus references our service to those around us as service to Him. In our desire to serve God and worship Him extravagantly, we must learn to serve those around us extravagantly.
- It’s a lifestyle. Quite often, I hear people talk about their spiritual lives in contrast to their other lives. But the two shouldn’t be separated. It should be one life on a spiritual Journey. In Colossians 3:23, Paul advises servants (which given point 2 above, we all are) to work at everything (not just the church related ones) as working for the Lord, and not human masters. This thought changes our world view in that, in every aspect of our lives, there are opportunities to serve God extravagantly. From how we relate with people, to how we work at our Jobs, how we study at school, and so on. This kind of lifestyle makes a culture that truly has the power to change a Nation and the world over.
Let’s go, On Mission, On Purpose