Day in and day out, thousands of people go shopping - grocery shopping, clothes shopping, vehicle shopping, etc. Some are stingy and some extravagant. We could argue that those who are extravagant are giving work to manufacturers, to drivers bringing in supplies, to store workers, to raw-material suppliers. We could also argue that when we're being extravagant, we're spending money that could be used to serve people who are sick without access to healthcare, disabled, persecuted, homeless - the list goes on. We can also think about extravagance as being generous to others, just as the father was generous to the prodigal son when he returned home. He gave him a new robe, a ring, sandals for his feet, and a banquet to celebrate his return.
In a country with such abundance, many people place their primary focus on money and materialistic gain. But realizing there is no end to wanting more, is it possible to implement some principles of minimalism in our lives? Scripture tells us that money will not truly satisfy us (Hebrews 13:5). When we are faced with trials, our possessions will not save us. God is the one who helps us weather the storm and we can be confident that knowing and loving God is the best investment of time and energy we can make and will bring us far more contentment in life.
Ask your teen...
Is there an extravagance you could forgo this week?
Who has shown you astonishing generosity and how did you react?
How has this person's extravagant love inspired you?
Challenge your teen...
Jesus' final message to his disciples in John 13-17 contains some of his most memorable commands and promises. Here are a few:
John 13:34-35; 14:6-7; 14:25-27; 14:15-17; 15:4-5; 15:9-11; 16:13-14; 17:20-22
Take some time to read these passages. Find a few verses that speak to you and write them down and put them where you will see them in the coming week. Say them aloud. Memorize them. Allow them to sink into your heart. Let the gift of grace freely given empower you to extend God's extravagant love to all people.
God, open our eyes to see both the suffering and the joy of people around us. Help us to serve others and to celebrate the hope found in following you. Amen.