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Extravagant Love


When my children were small, I would say to them, “I love you.” We would banter back and forth as to who could proclaim their love more than the other. They would reciprocate, “I love you, too.” I would then say, “How much do you love me?” The boys would then open their arms as wide as they possibly could and say, “this much.” I would counter by saying, “I love you this much,” and stretching my arms wider than their little bodies would allow them to. Not to be outdone, the boys would express it somewhat like God expresses his love for us. One of them would say, “I love you to the sky!”


Had I really done anything to deserve all that attention and love? I came home to hugs and kisses -- a few brief moments to satisfy a pinned up anticipation. I had made their day. Had I done enough to nourish the relationship to keep it strong? It takes much more than showing up, exerting minimal effort to achieve a solid, long lasting relationship. We must expend much more time and effort to be successful in any relationship.


We tend to look in terms of minimums. What is the least amount of effort I can exert and still receive a satisfactory result. If we want our relationship to flourish, we must not be stingy, selfish, or minimalist in our thinking. Instead, we should ask the question, “How can I display an extravagant type of love that God has shown for me?”


In the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32), the son showed disregard for the family. He was self-centered and wanted to satisfy his desires. He mistreated and hurt the father. After falling into desperation and despair, he decided to return. He looked for no great reward or entitlement. He sought to satisfy only his minimal needs. He realized he was no longer worthy. We see the father’s reactions in verses 20-24 as follows:


“So he got up and went to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick!’ Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate.”


The father showed extravagant love. He not only allowed the return, he welcomed it. He not only clothed him, but he gave him the best clothes and adorned him with new shoes and jewelry. He not only fed him, but he threw a party with the best food and merriment. The father proclaimed publicly his extravagant love for his son.


Consider ways you can exhibit extravagant love in your life. How quickly are you willing to forgive others when they have wronged you? Do you sometimes act like the elder son in the parable of the prodigal son? How often is the interest of others your primary concern?


“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16


“And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:17-20.


God has shown us extravagant love. He redeemed us by the precious blood of the lamb. He has given us more than we need, and certainly more than we deserve. As we tend to give in minimums, he gave the maximum.


“Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:4


Husbands practice extravagant love.


“Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.” Ephesians 5:25


Does it make your spouse’s day when you are home from work? Do you shower her with love? Do we go out of our way to say or do something that demonstrates that type of love? If not, do something for your spouse that exceeds the limits of reason or necessity. Learn how to love extravagantly.