Extravagant Love and Generous Living Leads to an Attitude of Praise

Many years ago, early in our marriage, Kathy and I adopted a philosophy for our lives. We didn’t write it down or even define it in specific terms, but after reading the scriptures and observing people who were godly examples in our families and church, we realized that generosity was a Biblical principle. We learned to make being generous one of those attitudes around which we built our lives.

It wasn’t until decades later, however, while reading from the paraphrase of the Bible called The Message that I found the words to best describe what we had been practicing.

Eugene Peterson, who wrote The Message, paraphrased Jesus’ words from Luke, chapter 6.

“To you who are ready for the truth, I say this: Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, giftwrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practices the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”

live generously

And he paraphrased Paul’s words from that famous love chapter, 1 Corinthians 13, this way.

But for right now, until that completeness, (seeing things as God sees them), we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly.

love extravagantly

After reading these passages I distilled those themes into two easily remembered phrases: Live generously and love extravagantly. And since that time this has been a philosophy we have tried to live by and have encouraged LifePoint to model on a consistent basis.

This philosophy for life dovetails perfectly with Jesus’ teaching about the Great Commandment which boils down to loving God above all others and loving our neighbors like we love ourselves. Sometimes it’s just helpful to say it in a different way.

It’s also a lifestyle decision which fosters an attitude of praise. When our first reaction is to respond to others with generosity and love, we are consistently reminded of the nature and character of God who is supremely generous toward us and over-the-top extravagant in His love for us. Knowing that is how God is predisposed toward us causes praise to rise up in our hearts as we acknowledge God’s great goodness.

You may, at times, wonder how to specifically live out the principles prescribed in the Bible. I would suggest you adopt the philosophy I’ve just described as a starting point. You will never be disappointed with where this mindset leads.

I’m certain that each of us can find some way to be just a little more generous (translated: less selfish) and to show just a little more love toward God and others. These are principles that can transform our lives when we practice them consistently.

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