When was the last time you did something completely extravagant? Did you do it for yourself or for someone else?
I have such a hard time buying my wife flowers. It always feels like such a waste of money – they die! My wife hates it when I buy her any sort of jewelry. She says that it is a waste of money. I’d rather buy her jewelry than flowers – at least the jewelry will maintain some value over time. Should I buy her a vacuum cleaner for her birthday? What if it is a smart vacuum that is hooked up to Alexa? Would that be extravagant or just stupid?
I have concluded that extravagance is important, but I am also keenly aware that we all define extravagance differently. I listened to someone complain about the extravagance of someone’s car while talking on their iPhone X. I seem to remember a movement of college-educated students complaining about the extravagance of the 1% -- while living in their Yeti tents, sleeping in Columbia sleeping bags, wearing $150 jeans, and blogging on their $1500 computer with their college education. Incidentally, these are all things that I view as extravagant – including the college education!
One of the keys to a healthy marriage is to speak your spouse’s language of love extravagantly. For instance, if your wife’s language of love is service and she feels loved when you make the bed – then surprise her by cleaning the dirtiest toilet in the house. And don’t stop there; clean the whole bathroom, do the dishes, vacuum, sweep, mop, and clean the windows. (I think I’d rather buy her a Roomba!)
Love extravagantly. Just as Christ loved us.
My wife and I have a couple of spaces that we rent out to travelers. Our first thought was, how little do we need to provide for our guests as they come through. We started by providing clean linens and a clean space – that is the base level of hospitality, (as long as there is coffee!). But, does that demonstrate the extravagant love of Christ?
What would extravagant hospitality look like? What if we provided chocolates on the pillows? What if we gave them the best towels? What if we mounted the biggest TV that could fit on the wall? What if we turned on the air conditioner before the guest arrived on a hot day? What if we put some bottles of water in the fridge? What if we provided a gift basket for our guests? What if we provided coffee, hot chocolate, AND tea? What if we greeted each guest personally and helped carry their bags to their room?
Then, and only then, what if we put a Bible in the room and a book about who God is? What if we told people that we pastor a church in our city? Would people want to come back? They say that they do – and we just had our first repeat guests. They said that we should raise our prices. But, if we raised our prices, would it still be extravagant?
Why do some of us have such a hard time with extravagance? Why do we have a hard time with grace? How should we respond to extravagance? If I deserve it, can it be considered extravagant? What if we loved extravagantly? What if we served extravagantly? What if we worshiped extravagantly?
Some struggle with just saying, “Thank you! That was so unexpected.” Others struggle with being extravagant, but welcome extravagance – and even expect it. These people have a hard time making friends, and a harder time keeping them.
There is a story in the Bible about extravagance. Sure, lots of stories in the Bible demonstrate extravagance, but the only point of this story is extravagant worship. A woman broke an alabaster of ointment and dumped it out on Jesus’ feet – for no other purpose than extravagant worship, adoration, and love. Interestingly, she was criticized and ridiculed for being wasteful – except Jesus honored her for her extravagance, and we are still telling her story today.
How could you love someone extravagantly today? We should consider how we love our children extravagantly – maybe help with their college education. We should love our spouses extravagantly – maybe clean the bathroom!
How could you extravagantly love Jesus this week? Is that even possible? Shouldn’t we at least try?