I saw a quote recently that might help clarify this point further, “A poor man knows the true value of money and will dare not waste it, but a rich man is extravagant and always looking for an opportunity to empty his pockets”.
Are we living rich, or poor, regardless of our financial status?
Saint Irenaeus once declared, “the glory of God is man fully alive”. Jesus said, “I come that they may have life, and have it to the full”.
When we consider these statements, what does it mean to live fully?
When I consider the extravagant generosity of God, as well as the giving of the Prodigal son’s father toward both his sons, and the entire sacrificial life of Jesus…I just don’t see anything held back. Their giving is lavish, perhaps even considered foolish by some. For lavish is defined as bestowing something in extravagant and generous quantities.
Compare this to the rich man in the Bible who God calls a fool. He saved as much as he could, so much so, he had a problem knowing what to do with it all (Luke 12:20).
I once wanted to be like that rich guy with the full barns. So much so, I turned around one day, and realized I knew nothing but work. I had lost my heart along the way. Working diligently, saving dutifully, and climbing to the top of what hill?
Frankly, I’m still deep in the process of God revealing, healing, restoring, and renewing the lost pieces of myself I ignored, lost and denied along the way.
I’m coming to understand how a lavish spending nature can actually bestow love and honor towards God, ourself, and others – because it involves so much more than mere money.
What would it look like to live fully and to spend lavishly? To begin to answer this well, we must know what we even have to spend.
Clearly, we all have time. But how shall we spend it? I desire mine to be spent daringly, elegantly, relationally, abundantly, adventurously, lovingly, kindly, sacrificially, and sacredly. Yes, to be poured out investing my remaining time on healing, helping, and honoring my life, as well as the lives of others. As I close in on fifty years of living, I prayerfully consider how I can spend my remaining days in such lavish ways.
Talents – we all have them, but how are they being spent? Perhaps we are too shy, afraid, or hurt to even use and discover them. Or, we might hoard them solely to ourself. Instead, how might they be spent to better nourish our hearts, encourage others, and spread the hope and kindness all talents have embedded in them?
Treasure – sometimes, if we are taught anything about money, it’s how to always be getting more of it. Not a bad thing, but how often does this become our most prioritized thing? Instead, we should be taught and encouraged to spend lavishly well. As such, this means spending on experiences, causes we believe in, and on restorations.
These include vacations, travel, philanthropy, charity, education, play, and so much more. Interestingly, even when we save, break wasteful bad habits, and pay down debts, we are actually spending in a way that helps us fund future causes, restorations, and experiences!
Testimonies are our life stories and are unique to us all. We are rich with them. In fact, there are 59 verses in the Bible encouraging us to go and tell others what God has done for us. Why? Because it brings glory to all God has done, can do, is doing, and will do. Sharing our stories abundantly helps others see and know just how extravagant His love is.
Spending lavishly isn’t promoting hedonism – that would be too easy, and would reduce it to a wading in shallow water. Rather, I’m referring to the exact opposite.
Maya Angelou once said, “Surviving is important. Thriving is elegant”. Yet, how many of us do this well? It’s lavish. Its full. It’s hard. It’s vulnerable. It’s risky. It’s beautiful.
With Jesus, He moves our life from merely surviving to one that’s spiritually thriving, and grows in us the capacity to invest our life beautifully, with honor, wholeheartedly, lavishly, elegantly, wisely, and well.