Day 22: Show extravagant love

In Sandra Boynton’s book Consider Love, “love extravagant” is pictured by an elephant who has uprooted an apple tree to present to his girlfriend as a bouquet.

Extravagant love capsizes distraction.

It’s hard to pay attention to your own fears, faults, and problems when extravagant love comes your way.

Extravagant love captivates us.  We must either mock it or downplay it or be changed by it, but we cannot pretend it is not there.

Extravagant love is the love that sculpts dust and breathes life into it.  It’s the love that splits a sea open to save slaves.  It’s the love that closes lions’ mouths and opens the mouths of those who have no voice.  It’s the love that keeps stones as stones in a time of personal starvation but multiplies loaf after loaf when a crowd is hungry after missing a few meals.  It’s the love that starts a dead heart beating and raises a dead sinner to a breathing holiness.

It’s the love that carries the earth around the sun . . tilts sky light to reveal rainbows . . holds the earth and does not let it move into the night . . handpicks a star for a birth announcement.  Love that will one day come in a cloud from Heaven to the delight of all who have believed and followed.

If we have believed in Jesus and follow Him, the next question is, how do we react to extravagant love?

We know we can’t repay God, but there is something we can do for God: give extravagant love to others.

We show we believe in Christ when we give away extravagant love.

Today’s mission is a little different than ones I’ve done.  It’s the extravagant love mission.  It’s the tunnel that missions should go through.

A friend I had as a teenager knew how to give extravagant love.  One time her church asked for money for missions and she felt called to give.  She didn’t have much or any money in her pockets, so she put a ring she was wearing in the offering plate.

Another friend took the time to talk to me every morning on my way to work when I was trapped in a slump of panic and fear.

Extravagant love isn’t money.  It’s giving.  It could result in giving money, but that’s not what extravagant love is.  Extravagant love is giving something unexpected.  Extravagant love is over-the-top, personally costly, and always in our case (as sinners) undeserved.

Because it is these things, the giver of extravagant love could be accused of lunacy for giving it, by onlookers and even the recipient.  So extravagant love is risky.  Extravagant love can mean joy and closeness, but it can also mean humiliation and suffering.  But extravagant love takes that risk.

It’s the love that goes to a graveyard to rescue an escaped criminal who cuts himself with stones and has a legion of demons inside him.

If I was with somebody, and I said, “Where do you want to go tonight?  Bowling?  Ice skating?  Just out for a drive?”

And they said, “No, I want to go save an escaped criminal who cuts himself with stones and has a legion of demons inside him”, I’d be looking for the fastest way to say goodbye.

But God didn’t.  Because God’s love is extravagant.

This month, this week, this day, this hour, pray for God to bring people to you who you can give a taste of extravagant love.  Give it in the Name of Jesus Christ, the most extravagant giver of all.

This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16, NIV)