Is it wrong to use the word extravagant of God?
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us.
Ephesians 1:7, 8
Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:20, 21
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.
1 Peter 1:3
And that’s just off the top of my head!
Is not our rescue an extravagant one? Is there not a lack of restraint in God’s generosity to us in Jesus? Is there not a sense in which God purchased us for himself, though he did not need to? Of course the price paid was no higher than needed – “if it is possible take this cup from me” – but it was certainly an expenditure on us that was immeasurably more than we deserved.
You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Oh the perfect economy of God! There is no waste and no debt. No impulse buys. Nothing is purchased or done that does not perfectly bring him the glory that all creation exists to bring him and that all who love him delight in. And yet there is spree like element in his teeming creation, detailed creativity expended on deep sea creatures only recently seem by any, but him. He is neither a miser nor a spendthrift. He gives us every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms and perfectly portions out our daily bread.
God’s extravagance is not an indulgent vice in an otherwise carefully budgeted lifestyle – but rather a perfect part of his perfect nature.
God is neither a miser who grows rich by seeming poor; nor an extravagant man who grows poor by seeming rich. (See quotes from the end of the previous post)
And what of the people who bear his name?
How would the world describe the church – misers or extravagant fools? Which charge would we rather they levied at our door? What does God see when he looks on his church?
Are we misers growing wealthy in this world by seeming poor? Keeping our heads down, cautious and quiet with what we have and stingy with our love and time? Do we baulk at anything striking of excess, wary of giving today, what we may need tomorrow?
Surely we must not appear to the world to be poor as the miser would do. We are spiritually rich and the storehouses of heaven are full. Let us live as those who are rich! Throwing off idolatrous anxiety masquerading so cunningly as caution. Let us not fear that godly extravagance will impoverish us. Our heavenly treasure are safe and our daily bread deliveries in the capable, wise hands of our good God.
But…. but… what is godly extravagance? Surely we need to be wise stewards, to plan well and act responsibly? While our love is not finite, our time, money and energy (emotional and physical) is (at least humanly speaking). It is easy to be stirred up, but in the day to day it is just so hard to follow through. Part of us just doesn’t want to, and the other part is unsure how to and to what extent.
Dear Father, whose love is beyond extravagant, please show me the ways in which I can be extravagant today. Teach me a habit of godly excess in the measures I use with others and godly restraint in what I measure out for myself, trusting that it is you who fills my cup to overflowing. In the name of my precious, precious saviour, Amen.