In Defense of a Little Extravagance
We've been at the House of Prayer less than two weeks, but I already have found myself in discussions with people who have a hard time understanding why we'd spend large chunks of time in the prayer room. These questions are not from those of other religious traditions, mind you...but from Christians, many of them active in ministry of some sort.
Most of them are very nice about it, but you can tell by the gentle prodding what they're really thinking: This is a waste! Why don't they get out there and do something?
Having spent the better part of my adult out there doing something every waking moment, it is not as easy as you might think to discipline myself to this amount of prayer. It's work. At and times, it feels very costly...but the purposes of God dictate it in my life.
I was reading in Mark 14 this morning - where the woman broke the alabaster jar of expensive perfume to anoint Jesus' head. The desciples were indignant on two counts - 1) this was expensive stuff, and 2) think of the good that could come of it if she served the poor.
Jesus quickly pointed out that the poor had been poor even before she broke the alabaster box open, and there had been and would continue to be plenty of opportunities to meet there needs (the unspoken message being "why aren't you doing that already?", and that her extravagance was key in preparing his body for burial. Her act was helping to usher in the fullness of God's plan.
God's plan is often proceeded by a group of people willing to make extravagant sacrifices. Those who do the norm (often aka the minimum) are able to maintain the present spiritual climate, but for that climate to change (think spiritual global warming!) will demand a people of extravagant sacrifice. I have purposed in my heart to become one.