A recently heard, touching story is worth retelling here. While on vacation in Australia, a man retired from the US Coast Guard was visiting a winery for a tasting of fortified wines called Port, for which this winery was renowned. As the group of tourists was getting ready for the tasting, in general conversation, it came out about his military career. Later, the owner of the winery came to him, asking if he was the Coast Guard person in the crowd. Cautiously, he admitted that he was, wondering where this might be heading. The owner related the story about his brother having been lost at sea for 28 days, and it was the US Coast Guard who had rescued him. He went on to say the family had always wanted to express their deep gratitude for the return of their family member but had never known how. Recognizing that the guest in front of him was probably not part of that rescue, he wanted, on behalf of his whole family, for him to accept a bottle of their special Port, on behalf of the whole Coast Guard. The officer humbly accepted the gift which was presented in a wooden box, with serial number engraved on it and kept it for several years until there was a special occasion to share it with friends. Right then, on a whim, he searched for the current value of his gift and found it to be listed at between $2000 and $3000 (there were only three such bottles in existence with one of them missing. His was the missing bottle. It hadn’t been sold. It had been given away!) An extravagant expression of gratitude indeed!
The extravagance of this story is a poignant illustration of the Kingdom. The love that is shared, the redemption that is offered, the pardon, the gift of righteousness, our acceptance in the Beloved, are all extravagant. As is God’s power. Paul says, “. . . you will be empowered to discover what every holy one experiences – the great magnitude of the astonishing love of Christ in all its dimensions. How deeply intimate and far-reaching and inclusive it is! Endless love beyond measurement that transcends our understanding – this extravagant love pours into you until you are filled to overflowing with the fullness of God! . . . He will achieve infinitely more than your greatest request, your most unbelievable dream, and exceed your wildest imagination!” (Eph. 3:18-21, TPT). Is this our daily lived experience in our life with God? Are we aware of His wildness? Does this reality pierce the smog of our earthbound days and awaken us to wonder, to awe, to delight? I mean fully to all the fullness of the fullness of God? Does our new life regularly take our breath away? If not, might we be missing out? Or was Paul just exaggerating? Looking forward to further exploring the ever-expansive expansiveness with y’all tomorrow, 10 AM, 3 PM, 4 PM. PD