Extravagant Love

This last weekend, we drove four hours west, through the beautiful Rocky Mountains to go on a little weekend getaway with some friends. The weekend itself was wonderful, full of tons of fun and memories but before we even got there, my heart was captivated by the beauty that was surrounding my car.

I’ve lived in Colorado my entire life but the shear splendor of the mountains never ceases to amaze me. As we wound our way higher, over and through the Rockies, staggering cliff faces rose to meet us. The rock looked like it had been hand carved, each groove or sediment placed there on purpose. The Colorado River ran beside us, its waters rushing along to keep pace with the cars, while trees waved their branches in welcome standing at attention in row after row like a crowd gathering to watch a parade. When we got to the town of Palisade where we were spending the weekend, mesas and vineyards, flowers and peaches, filled my view.

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My heart belongs here with this landscape. I love it deeply and like a child finds comfort when they look across the playground and see their mom on the bench, I find comfort when I look to the West and see the mountains. It’s home and its beauty is a part of me.

The mountains didn’t have to be beautiful though. Flowers didn’t have to smell good and rushing water didn’t have to be so comforting. None of it was absolutely necessary was it? The world could have functioned just fine without all the extra frills but what’s a cake without frosting and what’s love without extravagance?

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The God who created the world, the God who is love, demonstrates His love through the extravagance of the home He created for us. You can see it all around in the beauty of creation. It wasn’t good enough for Him to simply make a world that functioned, He made a world that captivates. It wasn’t enough for Him to simply give us breath, He wanted to take our breath away. So He made this world full of extras, full of things like graceful trees, staggering mountains, rainbows of flowers, bright blue skies, and the crowning jewel, people as different and as beautiful from anyone standing beside them.

I love the views that Colorado has to offer because when I look at them, I’m reminded that love never does the bare minimum. The love of my Creator is summed up in extravagance and it’s as big and as beautiful as the mountains out of my window.

This love, this beauty, it inspires. It fills me up and it challenges me. I can’t help but ask myself when I look at a sunset or smell a flower, “Do I love like this?” Do I love with extravagance, giving those that I love more than the minimum amount of what they need? Is my love for my friends, my family, my God equal to the gift of the unnecessary beauty in nature or is it as good as the grass in my backyard in winter; brown and basic but alive enough to get through the frost?

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The God that created the universe, He is love. He sets the standard, and in His kind of love, there is unnecessary, over the top, unquestionable, extravagance. His love never does the bare minimum but strives to out do. That’s the kind of love I want to have for others. A mountain’s worth of extras.

So this week, whether it’s through listening better, talking softer, serving, hugging, giving of your time, your money, your heart, love like our Creator. Love with a frosting on the cake kind of love. Find the line that marks the minimum amount that you would have to do and then sprint over it. And if you start to forget then look outside and remember that the sun could have set quietly but instead, it paints the sky in a love note to us.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” John 13:34 (NIV)