“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called the children of God!” (Jn 3:16; 1 Jn 3:1). We have been shown mercy – not getting what we deserve (eternal punishment), and grace – getting what we don’t deserve (eternal life). Jesus gave His all for us; can we offer Him anything less?

The gospels record different accounts of women pouring out a precious and costly perfume in an extravagant act of worship. The first is during Jesus’ ministry in Galilee and He uses this as a lesson on forgiveness and love (Lk 7:36-50). The other accounts relate to two other instances during the week of Passover and are linked with His imminent death and burial (Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8). Each of these women recognized Christ’s unequaled value and expressed their gratitude with unreserved love and devotion, although they (like us) did not fully comprehend the significance of the Master.

Since we have been forgiven an eternal debt for our sin, one that we can never repay, shouldn’t we be extravagant in our love and devotion to the Saviour? Such affection and gratitude is practically out-worked in blessing humanity; not so much to those who can

Is my love for Jesus overflowing?

reciprocate, rather to those who can’t repay (Lk 14:12-14). The Bible's message is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. Love your neighbour as yourself” (Mk 12:30,31).

“Freely you have received, freely give” (Mt 10:8). We are to pass on to others the blessings we have received. Going the ‘second mile’ is a costly exercise, it is doing more than is expected or the norm but it’s what Christ did (Mt 5:41; Act 2:44,45; 2 Cor 8:1-4). It’s not the magnitude of the gift or the undertaking but the size of the heart attitude it represents that will truly bless (Lk 21:1-4).

God challenged the Israelites, "Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need" (Mal 3:10). Extravagant giving exceeds what is expected, exceeds what is affordable, and exceeds what is needed.

The Bible declares, "He is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us" (Eph 3:20). God's ability and capacity to give far exceeds our asking or visualising. No matter how extravagant we make our requests, God in His matchless power can give us more than we ask, and far beyond what our finite minds can imagine. What a great God we have!

See also: generosity, greed, pride, wealth.