Extravagant. Overblown. A bit much. We’re going extravagant today. If someone mentions that they’d like something a little over the top, why not just go for it? (And go all-in, too – if you need the excuse to go big, consider this it!)

 Choose how you’ll complete today’s act:
Give something small but thoughtful – like adding a biscuit when you
bring someone tea.                                        

Give something big and thoughtful – like a three-course, all-paid-for meal, or a year’s subscription to cinema tickets, not just a gift card.

Give something absurdly, radically thoughtful – like Philip’s unexpected car donor, what can you do to step into truly sacrificial generosity?

“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?”
(Romans 8:32 NIV)

Your thought for today:

Extravagant generosity can catch you by surprise.

I had been speaking at an outreach weekend at a church in a different part of the country and as the weekend came to an end there was one couple hanging back just waiting for a moment to catch my attention. I could see them out of the corner of my eye and I was imagining what they might want to say or ask. But it turned out that none of my guesses was anywhere near the target!

We had been struggling along for a few months with an impractical and temperamental car. For reasons best known to itself, the vehicle in question chose not to start if the weather was even a little damp, let alone wet. As I was introduced at one of the talks, the story of our temperamental car happened to come up but I thought nothing more of it at the time. It seemed that this couple had been listening and discerned God at work prompting them to act.

And so a day or so later, rather than making an expected comment about the talk, the service, or something similar, they greeted me with the words, ‘It may not be quite what you were hoping for, but we do have a car that we have been wondering what to do with. And we’d like to give it to you.’

This was a first! Truly extravagant generosity! I didn’t quite know what to say. Here was I, having talked about God’s generous grace, and having encouraged people to accept it, finding myself very much the undeserved recipient of somebody else’s extraordinary generosity, and struggling to take it in.

Wonderfully, the couple graciously persisted with their offer and a little later in the day my wife and I not only had a chance to take a test drive, but also fixed a time that I might come back and pick it up from them.

As I look out the window writing this and see the same car in the drive some two years later, I continue to be struck by how wonderfully God has provided for us.

Why not be the agent of God’s extravagant generosity to someone today? Pray that He might show you who and how and don’t be surprised if the recipient is more than a little overwhelmed to begin with!

Written by Philip Sudell
Philip Sudell is the minister of Grace Church, Muswell Hill.

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