One day I was out hiking on the Appalachian trail. We had gone ten or fifteen miles that day. I've probably walked about a hundred miles of the trip I suppose. Not much of the trail. I was carrying a big back pack and they don't have "Taco Belles" along the trail and their facilities, you know. So occasionally you have to step off the trail. I stepped off the trail and headed back to a remote area, and I spent some time noticing what God had made. On a remote knoll well off the trail, I sat down to rest. I wondered how many people in the history of the world had ever been on that isolated spot. There beside me, my eyes feasted on a clump of tiny but extremely beautiful flowers. Was I the only human to see these intricate masterpieces of God?
Then I noticed many more far down the slope until they were too far for my eyes to see. Here were all these flowers growing, thousands of flowers. Maybe millions of flowers on all these mountain slopes. And there was no trail down there. There they would bloom and flourish and eventually die without benefitting anybody. I thought, "You know, God is so wasteful. This is such a waste. Why can't these flowers grow in my yard? Why can't these grow around our church? Why does God allow these flowers to grow here? I can't even get flowers to grow in my yard. Why is this? God is wasteful!"
And then I thought more deeply about God. And I thought, "You know, He loves all of us. With His perfect love, is some of His love wasted on some of us? Yes, I suppose it is." Even God's love is wasted sometimes. He lavishes His beautiful love on Sinners, many or maybe most of which will never respond to it or appreciate it.
I want you to notice a text in your Bible: 1 John 3. Here he writes about God and God's love. 1 John 3:1, How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!
God lavishes His love on His people! That's wasteful, isn't it. God's love is EXTRAVAGANT. You could even call God's great love wasteful. Like a mountain flower whose sweet fragrance will never benefit any human being. There it just grows. Wasted. So God's great love is profusely lavished on everyone.
Come over here to Romans 5 in your Bible. This is one of my favorite places in the Bible. I want you to notice what God does with His love. Romans 5:5-8 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out His love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
Now, obviously He wasted some of that, didn't He? If He died for every single human being, how many people are going to be saved? Do you think fifty percent of us will be saved? Somebody said, "One in twenty." I don't know. A lot of love is wasted. Or is it wasted? I don't believe it is. Does God love bad people? Does God lavish His love on bad people? Yes He does. When God tells us to love our enemies, that surely means that He Himself loves those who hate Him. We are told in Luke 6:27 "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you," That's what God does every day. He does good to bad people. 1 John 4:7 Friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. In fact, John tells us that God is love.
Why does God love us so lavishly? Have you ever thought about that? It's certainly not because we are so valuable. In fact, I would submit to you that we are valuable because He loves us so much, and not vice versa. That's why we have worth. We are valuable precisely because God loves us so greatly.
We have a member of our church by the name of George Sheldon Stevens. He's a retired pastor, a member of the McDonald Road Church, and he wrote a poem, called, "God's Extravagance."
GOD'S EXTRAVAGANCE How lavishly God gives to all To gratify our varied needs; Like from the trees He makes to fall A rich hyperbole of seeds. He gives more food than we can eat, More clothes than we can ever wear, More oxygen than we can breath Unseen surrounds us in the air. A grace we cannot understand A depth of love we can never know, He scatters all across the land, We feel it everywhere we go. These blessings we cannot explain In any flowery platitude; God only asks that we maintain An effervescent gratitude. A happy face should be our style, That everyone we meet may see The unsaid message of our smile "This is what God has done for me."
That's all you can do: be grateful for that grand wonderful love. Just like God pours out His beautiful flowers on both the beautiful lush mountain meadows, He also pours them in the remote places, the rocky places of the world. You see flowers growing everywhere. Just so, He pours our His love on the bad places of the world. He pours them out on unresponsive hearts. Why? To get something to happen, so that His love may grow there. Astonishingly, God pours out His exuberant love upon both saints and sinners. Imagine God wrote you this letter:
Yesterday, I saw you walking and laughing with your friends; I hoped that soon you'd want me to walk along with you, too. So, I painted you a sunset to close your day and whispered a cool breeze to refresh you. I waited -- you never called But I just kept on loving you.
As I watched you fall asleep last night, I wanted to touch you. So I spilled moonlight onto your face. It trickled down your cheeks as so many tears have. But you didn't even think of Me; I wanted so much to comfort you and give you joy.
The next day I exploded a brilliant sunrise into glorious morning, just for you. But you woke up late and rushed off to work -- you didn't even notice. So, My sky became cloudy and My tears were the rain.
I love you, oh, if you'd only listen. I really do love you. I try to say it in the quiet of the green meadow and in the blue sky. The wind whispers My love throughout the treetops and spills it into the vibrant colors of all the flowers. I shout it to you in the thunder of the great waterfalls and compose love songs the birds to sing for you. I warm you with the clothing of My sunshine and perfume the air with nature's sweet scent. My love for you is deeper than any ocean and greater than any need in your heart. If you'd only realize how much I care.
My Dad sends His love. I want you to meet Him -- He cares, too. Fathers are just that way. So, please; call on Me soon. No matter how long it takes, I'll wait -- because I love you.
Signed: Your Loving Friend, JesusI like that. That's what Jesus is like. Look at 2 Corinthians in your Bible. 2 Corinthians 8:20, Paul speaks about God's generous grace: We want to avoid any criticism of the way we administer this liberal gift.
Today Christians sing of God's luxuriant grace by such songs as "Amazing Grace." Paul calls it, "liberal," God's grace is liberal, extravagant! Why is it so amazing? Because it is so rare. Nothing in the human life even faintly resembles the rich superabundant love that God bestows on mankind.
About two weeks ago, I went outdoors where we live, and I noticed at my house there in the Little Debbie rain gage that I have, there were almost three inches of rain in there. I thought, "Wow, we had a lot of rain in the last twenty fur hours." I try to empty the rain gage every morning. And got to thinking about all that rain. You know, that much rain for every square foot in my yard would be almost a gallon, wouldn't it? Our yard has over sixty thousand square feet. So in one rain shower I received more water than I would possibly drink in two lifetimes. Just in one day! That is amazing! Is it wasted? Did it all go down the drain? Did I utilize any of it?
That is precisely how God showers His love on each of us every day! Is it wasted? Do we appreciate it?
In Psalm 23 David tries to describe a little bit of what God does. And here he says, My cup overflows. That's what God does. He did that to David. He does that to every one of His people.
You can be absolutely certain that Jesus love you. God loves you. He loves you just like you are. You need to accustom yourself to that wonderful fact that regardless of whatever you have done, he still loves you because that sunrise still comes up over your head. It's there for you. He's telling you something. Every day God lavishes His unlimited love upon you. Give God the benefit of the doubt. He's there for you. He's kind. He's pleasant. He's loving. He has your best interest in His heart. He is living to save you. If you don't resist, you're going to be in heaven. You're going to be there some day.
God's generous character will be displayed more fully when we arrive in Heaven. We really don't know God here. Not fully. Imagine when you get to heaven, God is going to welcome you. You would expect that when somebody comes home from Viet Nam and they've served as a soldier over there. The balloons are going to be out in the front in the front yard, aren't they? Maybe there would be fire works. Imagine what God is going to do when we get to heaven. He's going to have a welcome ceremony. In fact, the Bible says in 1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him." God loves you with a wasteful love. And I don't want it to be wasted on me.
We can know a little bit about what God's love is like by examining God's attributes. For instance:
God's love is measureless and boundless. It has no bounds because it is not a thing. This pulpit, I can measure this pulpit because it is physical. It has measurements. Anything that is physical I can measure. But God's love has no measure because it is not physical. His love is something that He is, and therefore you can't measure it. It is capable of holding the entire world and ten thousand additional worlds times ten thousand more. God can handle that because His love has no bounds.
A few weeks ago, I was out walking at an early morning hour. I suppose you all do that. It's a wonder I don't bump into you in my early morning walks. Maybe it's too dark, I don't know. Anyway, I was out walking up on White Oak Mountain and here the sun came up. And with it came one of the most glorious sunrises I have ever seen. Just fantastic! I thought, "How wonderful it is. God is so faithful every morning; the sun comes up. He's so faithful. Do I disappoint Him every day, or am I faithful?" I'm up there, worshipping the Lord, you know, and thinking all these thoughts, and here's this glorious sunrise, just coming up and I'm just feasting on it, and it was there to benefit every person in my home town in Collegedale. Did it benefit every person in Collegedale? Was some of it wasted? You get up early in the morning. You leave early. You see the sunrises. A lot of those are wasted. People are watching "The Today's Show" or something. I don't know what they're doing. That sunrise was there. It was there for me.
Yet that is how God is. Our God is so faithful. Every morning His mercies are fresh and new. God will always be there for you. He will never let you down.
You know, there's no need to beg. You don't have to get up in the morning and say, "Please fill me with your love." Okay? Because God's love isn't like that. He is willing to fill you as light is to fill a dark cave. All you have to do is open the door and it's going to come in. That's how it is with God's love. You don't have to beg for it. He's as willing as water is willing to flow into an empty vessel. Love is pressing around us like the air on all sides. If you open up, you're going to be filled with it. That's what it's like. We have to cease to resist and instantly, God's rich love takes possession of us. It's beautiful! It's wonderful!
"In the very beginning, when this great universe lay in the mind of God, like unborn forests in the acorn-cup; God already loved his chosen creatures." - Charles Haddon Spurgeon
John 3:16 (KJV) "For God so loved the world, that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life." Let's look at that word, "so." If I were a fisherman and I told you, "You know, I caught a fish and it was so big." The word, "so" is a fantastic word. "God so loved the world." Can you grasp what that is trying to say? He loved us wonderfully, specially.
I will tell you why He did that. I believe that God oversupplies like a heavenly spendthrift, not to be wasteful, but He wants us to know that He is more than able to be our God and our Savior. He is more than able. His grace is more than adequate to supply our spiritual needs. His forgiveness is more than sufficient to blot out our deepest sins. Jesus is more than able to save you if you will just surrender in complete trust in His ability to be your Savior. God is like that. He is a wonderful God. Jesus is able to save you to the uttermost. If you completely surrender to Him and trust Him he will save you.
Do you love God Who so lavishly cares for you? I do, and I know you do, too. Jesus said, "If you love me, keep my commandments." - (John 14:15) Respond to our benevolent Heavenly supplier. Honor your Father and your Savior Jesus Christ by living a life of gratefulness and respect to Him from Whom all blessings so richly flow. Fall in love with Jesus.
Be determined that God's lavish love will not be wasted on you. Let's live life to honor God. Your life is God's loving gift to you. What you do with it is your loving gift to God. Give your whole life, today, to Jesus Christ.
A beautiful song articulates the quality of God's lavish love:
Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the heav'ns of parchment made, Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade, To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry, Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretch'd from sky to sky. - Chaldee Ode
Hymn of Praise: #344, Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing Scripture: John 3:16 Hymn of Response: The Love of God 000805Gettys#231
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last updated 8/08/2000 by Bob Beckett.