Love's Extravagance

3rd Sunday of Easter
Scripture: John 12:1-3

When is love is extravagant?

Throughout the scripture we read of love extravagant and often personal shame. In John’s Gospel we read that Jesus went to the house of a Pharasee and took his place at the table.

When a woman of the streets, who was a sinner, came in weeping loudly. She approached him, her tears fell on his feet, and she knelt down, drying his feet with her hair. This was a display of extravagant love.

There is the story of the good Samaritan, which shares both shame and deep love. A man traveling alone on the Jericho road was beaten, robbed, and left for dead. They even stole his clothes. 

When a priest came upon him, he passed on the other side of the road, offering no help to the injured man.

Later, a Levite came by, seeing the man lying on the ground, hurriedly passed by offering no help.

A third man came upon the injured man. He was a hated Samaritan, yet he got off his donkey to tend to the injured man. He bandaged his wounds, offered him wine, picked him up and put him on his own donkey.

Who was the one to show extravagant love?

A 6th grade teacher, a young married woman in her second teaching position, came to our town. My twin brother, who had rheumatic fever, was living with our grandparents some 6 miles away. She took his studies to him every week for many weeks. I was invited to go with her. She lived 20 some miles in the opposite direction, where her husband was in college, from my grandparents. She got no support from the school system, no pay. She did this out of extravagant love for one of her students.
This is something that every one of us who proclaims to be a Christian should do if we have an opportunity.

Let us pray that the Lord will open our heart eyes to someone who we might offer extravagant love for that is what the Lord did for each one of us on the cross.

Remember these words He spoke:
“Father if it is possible, may this pass from me, but not my will thy will be done.”

Pray for me.

I met a young man as I exited the parking lot at Walmart. I noticed he had a warm jacket on, and that his clothes were neatly pressed and clean. He had a sign that read, “I am homeless and need your help for lodging and food.”

I questioned his appearance and need, for he did not appear as many who stand on that same spot asking for help who are untidy, and often dirty clothes with 3-5 days of beard.

I did not help him.

Easter Sunday as the Swearingen clan was sharing their Easter dinner, a woman came in asking for help. She needed gas money.

Dean called me and asked where can she get that aid. It was the weekend, and she said she did not know of any places in Brazil. We asked several questions. She said she was from Terre Haute. She knew where the Light House Mission was but did not have enough gas to get to Terre Haute.

Dean and I questioned why she left Terre Haute knowing she did not have enough gas to get back.

Peniel is not on 40 or 340. It is one mile north, on Kennedy Crossing.

While serving the Richmond area, a young man stopped by the church one Sunday afternoon, stating that he had a job in Indy but did not have enough gas to get there. Could we help him out?

We offered him the help; he accepted it with a grateful heart and thanked us, saying he would be back next week to repay us.
Next week came, and as usual in most of these situations, we did not see him.

Two weeks passed, and on a Sunday morning when I went into the sanctuary, I saw that young man. He said he was sorry for being a week late, but they only pay once every 2 weeks. He said, “Here is your money and a little extra to help someone else who might be in the same situation.”

That is the only person who asked for help who said they would repay, in my ministry of 45 years, who kept his word.

When we help someone showing extravagant love, often is it a blessing for us as well as whoever we gave the help.
When we help someone there are 2 blesssings. A blessing for the one we helped, and one for us as a giver of extravagant love.