Saturday, August 18, 2012

Love Extravagantly

I heard this phrase the other day.  I am sure I have heard it before, but this time it piqued my interest as I am trying to learn to love again (Ok, I will admit, I am learning to love truly for the first time as God intended it, previously I could not claim the qualities of love as my own.  I was winging it.).

Love Extravagantly

Has a great ring to it.  Very "buzz worthy."  But what does it mean?

From the website:

ex·trav·a·gant  adj.
1. Given to lavish or imprudent expenditure: extravagant members of the imperial court.2. Exceeding reasonable bounds: extravagant demands. See Synonyms at excessive. (Maybe?)3. Extremely abundant; profuse: extravagant vegetation. (Oh YEAH!)4. Unreasonably high; exorbitant: extravagant fees. (Not so much, love should be free.)
5. Archaic Straying beyond limits or bounds; wandering. (Hmmm...I like this, LOVE ALL OVER THE PLACE!)
ex·trava·gant·ly adv.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition copyright ©2000 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Update
So based on the definitions I think are fitting for our little adventure, 2.(?), 3., and 5; here we go.

To Love Extravagantly is to Love:

  1. Beyond reason (going above and beyond).
  2. Everyone (abundantly, enough to go around to all!).
  3. Beyond limits and everywhere (when you think you have loved enough, love more!).
Wow.  That convicts me.  I know I need to work on this A LOT.  I love from convenience.  I shelter myself from people to not have to love strangers.  I stay at home alone and "love" through electronic media my "Cardboard cutout friends" (That was my phrase I used to use in the early days of the internet when my (x)wife (before she was my x) discovered chat rooms and e-mail strings and got very involved with them to the point I felt neglected, but then since I was not loving her as she needed to be loved, I can't blame her).

The source of this phrase, at least from the point where I will reference it, is the Message Version of the Bible in 1 Corinthians 13.  It is actually in the final verse 13:13, but I will present the entire chapter since the Transliteration/Paraphrase is apt:
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing.  If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. 
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self. 
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. 
Love doesn't strut, 
Doesn't have a swelled head, 
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first," 
Doesn't fly off the handle, 
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, 
Doesn't revel when others grovel, 
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 
Puts up with anything, 
Trusts God always, 
Always looks for the best, 
Never looks back, 
But keeps going to the end.
Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.  When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!  But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
The Message (MSG) Copyright © 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 2000, 2001, 2002 by Eugene H. Peterson

I have bolded and used red font for the characteristics of love.  We should be reading this every day asking ourselves:
"When I love, do I give up?" I did.  Now I am trying to get back in the game!
"When I love, do I care more for the other, than me?" I was selfish, trying to learn self-less-ness!
"When I love, do I want more than is there?" I did, I wanted things my way. Now, one day at a time is enough, what is, is.
"When I love, am I proud and seeming to seek attention for what I have done 'In Love'"? Probably, I called attention to how much I would "sacrifice" for those I loved.  Now, I just want to serve.

You get the idea...

When we conduct an active and honest self-inspection, we will probably surprise ourselves with what we find!

In the final verses, we see that we are incomplete, waiting for our completion in Christ upon His return.Until then, we are given the commands to:
Trust Steadily in God:  keep trusting everyday no wavering between trust and doubt.  Be consistent.
Hope Unswervingly: do not lose your course.  Keep heading in the right direction.
Love Extravagantly: as we have covered here.  Above and beyond, to everyone, everywhere, and more than you thought you could!


Dear Father, teach me to love extravagantly.  Clear my mind of what I think I know about love and teach me what You have designed it to be.  Teach me to love my (x)Wife, my children, my family, my friends, my coworkers, my neighbors, my town, my state, my country, everyone and everything as You want me to.  Show me where and how to apply this lesson Father.  You have a plan, that is good and bigger than me.  I look forward to seeing the wonders You have in mind. Amen

Rejoice and Be Glad


  1. Wow..wonderful post. May we all learn to love God and others extravagantly. Our theologies differ a bit , but I also believe that true love is without condition. We should love not expecting anything in return..for when we give, we receive.

    1. Yes, our theologies differ, but the Truth of Love is universal.