John Wesley, our founder of Methodism, did not hesitate to proclaim that as Methodists, we are to “make all we can, save all we can, and give all we can”. Whenever I read or hear this Wesley quote, it makes me think of that 70’s song by Meatloaf in which he sings, “two out of three ain’t bad.” My guess is that you can relate, and maybe even see the humor. The interesting thing is that we all do not share the same two things that come easy, leaving that third one being somewhat tougher for us to swallow or achieve.
Rather than see three distinct actions or behaviors to master, Wesley saw this more as a direct connection between the abundance that God gives each individual and the mindset of generosity, fostering understanding of the necessary role each individual plays in using and spreading that abundance all around. To Wesley, abundance involved more than only money. It also included talents and aptitudes, other resources like time and food and shelter, aspects of relationship like compassion and friendship, and of course our experience of faith. Wesley pointed out that God expects us to be generous with that abundance—extravagantly generous.
Extravagant generosity is not a specific dollar amount, or allotment of time, or predetermined set of skills or talents. Rather, it describes a lavish sharing and sacrifice in service to God and neighbor. One need not look very long before seeing many examples of such generosity from within our congregation. Such generosity is not an obligation, but a gift. It is not a onetime gesture, but one that keeps on giving. And it continues seeking more ways to demonstrate extravagant ways to share, thus storing up treasures for the future, so that we may take hold of life that is real life.
May you always know all the ways God’s extravagance blesses you … Pastor Bob