An extravagant God
I went back to a former church on Saturday to speak at their ladies' Christmas lunch. It was so fun to see old friends again and catch up with everyone. Here's a little bit of what I said...
Are you the extravagant type at Christmas? Do you spend massive amount of money on presents, dinner and parties? Do you go to town on all the trimmings?
I’ll confess: I’d like to be. I’d love to deck my Chrissy tree out in all silver ornaments and have matching everything at the dinner table, but I’m too aware of counting my pennies. I shop in the sales and look for the ‘bargain’ presents that look expensive but aren’t!
I want to put it out there and say I think Christians should be the most extravagant people that there are in the world.
We should be the most lavish, the most reckless, the most wasteful, the most abundant, the least reasonable and the least restrained group of people in the world.
When others look at us, they should see people who have no thought for economy, self-preservation or restraint.
I’m not talking about extravagance in parties or dinners. Not talking about extravagance in presents. I’m not talking about extravagance in church services.
I’m talking about extravagance in LOVE, extravagance in gentleness, extravagance in patience, extravagance in goodness, extravagance in righteousness.
Because our God is an extravagant God. It's in his character and it's built into his creation.
If it was me creating the world, I might have gone with three or four types of tree, two or three different flowers for the garden. But no, there are hundreds of thousands of species of plants. I was walking through a nursery this morning and was staggered by the varieties there are!
If it was me, I might have said, “Well, now, Adam and Eve might like to keep some animals as domestic pets. Here’s a dog and a cat.” Have you ever tried to choose a pet for yourself? The choices are unlimited! There are hundreds of wonderful breeds of dogs and far too many breeds of cats.
Here are some things that prove that God is extravagant: A different sunset every night. Frilled-neck lizards. Snow-flakes. Giraffes (I mean really - what is the point?).
At Christmas, why do I not take the extravagant route in presents and dinner parties? Basically, when it comes down to it, I’m scared that I’ll run out of what I’ve got. I’m afraid of not having enough resources for myself. I do not have an unending source of funds that will just pour and pour into my bank account. And that stops me being extravagant and sharing with others.
But in God’s economy, love, grace and goodness are always on tap. God’s love is like a river, flooding into your life.
We have unlimited love and grace given to us. So we can give that away extravagantly. We can fill our minds extravagantly with righteousness and good things and truth.
An extravagant Christian life is a welcoming, a generous, an encouraging, a joyful and a loving life. It’s a life that loves God with heart and soul. And it’s a life that loves neighbour as self.
An extravagant church is not a church that puts on fabulous events or has really great music or a really big offering plate.
It is a church that says, “we’ll be reckless and lavish with our love and our kindness and our generosity to others because God has been recklessly and lavishly kind to us.