READ: Numbers 4-6, Psalm 42, Mark 14, Romans 14
In Mark 14 at the house of Simon the leper, a woman breaks an alabaster box of costly oil and lavishly, extravagantly anoints Jesus. Many of those observing her offering thought it a waste. Jesus thought differently. What the woman spent on Jesus (at cost to herself and seeming waste to others) was considered by Him so precious that He prophesied: “Wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what this woman has done will be told” (Mark 14:9).
What is our primary role in the gospel being preached in all the world? Extravagance with Jesus! Jesus says of this woman’s lavish outpouring: “She has done a good work for Me” (14:6). We are so wrongheaded in our approach to life and ministry, doggedly determined to work for Jesus, forgetting that sequentially witness must follow worship. First, we lavish daily extravagant daily time on Jesus (what He considers our work) and then we go into all the world to bear witness to what God has done in Christ. We will not be remembered for our work. Like the woman of extravagance, what will impact people is whether or not we lavished consistent attention on Jesus. When we get the sequence right (lavishing extravagant daily time on Jesus), He works through us in ways impossible otherwise, and whatever is accomplished has His incontrovertible stamp on it.
Interestingly the text continues “then Judas Iscariot, one of the twelve, went to the chief priests to betray Him,” (v. 10) and did so with a sign of intimacy, a kiss (v. 45).
A chief way we betray Jesus is with false intimacy. Some of those most offended by extravagance with Jesus are the ones who have a surface intimacy with Him. The movers, shakers, doers, task-oriented, efficient, hard-working sometimes struggle when they see the seeming passivity of abiding on Jesus. While some of their concerns have merit (we can be guilty of “spiritual gluttony” as the Church Fathers called it), the danger for the restless is a life full of activity that will not be remembered because they did not learn to abide (lavish extravagant daily time) in Jesus.
The chief end of man is to worship God and glorify Him forever. When we prioritize Jesus – by lavishing extravagant daily time on Him – He ensures that there is a gospel result. The best thing we can do for unreached people, the first thing we must do that all nations be fulfilled in the eternal worship of Jesus, the primary thing we are called to in life, service, and mission is to abide in Jesus. If we get that right, we will from that place of extravagance go into all the world and make disciples of every ethne.