We often scoff at extravagance, right?
“That’s too much!”
“You shouldn’t have!”
“That is really unnecessary!”
Is there a way that extravagance is a good thing? I’d like to suggest, “Yes!” There is a time and a way!
Jesus was an extremely extravagant person. And it gives us permission to be the same!
As Jesus lived his life he lived so recklessly, so extravagantly he pushed everyone’s buttons. It was actually unsettling to most everyone he came in contact with!
“Abundance and a generosity bordering on extravagant seemed to be the signatures of both his teaching and his personal style. Jesus was messy and reckless!
When he fed the multitudes at the Sea of Galilee, there was not merely enough to go around; the leftovers filled twelve baskets [John 6:13].
When a woman anointed him with expensive ointment and the disciples grumbled about the waste, he affirmed, “Truly, I tell you, wherever this good news is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in remembrance of her” (Matthew 26:13).”
Counting the cost was never a thing for Jesus, he actually forbade it. He was more concerned about giving it, stuff, and himself away! Why? Because he loved. Pure and simple . . . he was and is love.
“Do not store up treasures on earth,” he taught; do not strive or be afraid— “for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom” (Luke 12:32). All will come of its own accord in good time and with abundant fullness, so long as one does not attempt to hoard or cling.
It is a path he himself walked to the very end. In the garden of Gethsemane, with his betrayers and accusers stalking him, closing in on him, he struggled and anguished but remained true to his course. Do not hoard, do not cling—not even to life itself. Let it go, let it be— “Not my will but yours be done, O Lord. Into your hands, I commend my spirit.” [2]
Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love come in the freedom of giving.
Giving of our financial resources, our time, our attention, our affection.
As we close our meditation together today I invite you to read these words of the great Sufi mystic [Jalal al-Din] Rumi,
“Love is reckless; not reason.
Reason seeks a profit.
Love comes on strong, consuming herself, unabashed.
Yet, in the midst of suffering,
Love proceeds like a millstone,
hard-surfaced and straightforward.
Having died to self-interest,
she risks everything and asks for nothing.
Love gambles away every gift God bestows.”
I invite you to gamble away yourself today!
***Today’s devotion by Richard Rohr, “Giving Away Every Gift,” inspired this meditation. I invite you to read Rohr’s full devotion here.