Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Grand Gesture

It was a girlfriend's birthday - one of the "big" ones.
Two months previous to the big day a trio of us met to plan.
This could be no ordinary birthday.
It had to be big.
Really big.
No thoughtful individual gifts would do, we needed to pool our creative and monetary resources and do something extravagant.

The plans were made - met at 10 pm, wear all black, bring the signs, get balloons; she'll be so surprised in the morning when she looks out the window...

My van and I were getting the balloons - lots and lots of them!
All the way there it was extolled to me how better the money could be spent. How we could have gotten something beautiful and lasting or valuable and substantial; not something that would just last for a day or worse yet, all fly away during the night.
"It's cold now, they won't even float. Whose idea was this? Didn't you even think about this when you made this plan?"
By the time I reached the store if I'd had my phone I would have called the others and called the whole thing off - from any angle this was a colossal waste of money and a foolish expenditure of energy and resources.

I got the balloons.
We snuck over in the darkness. It was 20 degrees...
No matter how foolish it seemed, this was the time for the grand gesture.
The "Wow" moment.
The over the top, "this money could have absolutely been better spent on something else but we chose to be extravagant", kind of gift.

It was time to say "I love you" in an undeniable and unforgettable way.
Like O'Henry's The Gift of the Magi, except for a friend's birthday in the spring and not a spouse's Christmas gift in the winter but still... you get the idea.

Wasn't Calvary the same way?
How foolish for God to stoop down to inhabit the body of a man and then have that body sacrificed in a cruel death for people who didn't even care, or who might never receive the gift of salvation. Or to offer himself up for the atonement of the very people who cried out for his crucifixion. There's no wisdom in that, no common sense, no frugality - talk about over the top in extravagance...

We needed the grand gift, the extravagant grace, and that exuberant love.
What else would speak to the hearts of men two thousand years later?
What else speaks so deeply of God's great desire for us to be his own children?
What else but this magnanimous display of affection could draw us from the depth and darkness of living lives on our own terms and to the Savior?

Why have people withstood persecution or left home and family to travel overseas to tell others about God's love?

Because of the greatness of His love

A love so vast, so deep and broad and high that we cannot comprehend it's breadth. And when we, because of our love for someone, are able to do something extravagant that experience gives us a small insight into how much God must love us.

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! I John 1:3

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