My husband and I just celebrated our 48th wedding anniversary this past week. When first married, we had a weekly grocery budget of twenty-five dollars. For that monumental amount we filled our cart. No more! Those days, unfortunately, are long gone! And not only are we all spending more today, but a sneaky little tactic called shrinkflation is cleverly being used by companies to shrink the package size instead of popping up costs. So we are getting fewer paper towels, smaller candy bars, less chips and cereal, fewer trash bags – and sadly, even my beloved ice cream has been noticeably melted down.
Truth is, Shrikflation started way back in the days when nickel candy machines were popular and the makers of chocolate candy needed to raise their prices. The vendors resisted this change as their machines took only nickels. So instead of charging six cents, the manufacturers made the bars smaller. Problem solved, and companies have taken this cue ever since; same merchandise, same amount of money – only less product. But all this got me to thinking about the extravagance of God. He is just the exact opposite of shrinkflation. By contrast, God is into supersizing His “merchandise.” Think about this – in 1995, NASA pointed their billion-dollar Hubble Space Telescope at an empty patch of sky for 100 hours. When the results came back, it showed over 3,000 previously undiscovered galaxies. Not just stars, but galaxies – each one containing hundreds of billions of brilliant stars.
Space, apparently, goes on and on and on. To say it’s glorious and incalculable would be an understatement. Check out what the Psalmist wrote (8:3): “Look at the splendor of Your skies, Your creative genius glowing in the heavens. When I gaze at Your moon and Your stars, mounted like jewels in their settings, I know You are the fascinating artist who fashioned it all!”
And when we read the account of creation in Genesis, the word extravagant scarcely begins to reflect God’s full universe: breathtaking lights and waters, dazzling heavens and stars, majestic mountains, marvelous plants, fascinating animals and extraordinary people. This is supersizing to the max. And what about alternate life forms on other planets? Can we throw this into this mix? Who knows? But why not? Think about this – God has been around forever; why would He stop at one sun or one planet or even one “people” category?
Considering that God is independent, self-originating, and self-sufficient, if He wanted to create a being that didn’t need oxygen, food, or water, He could certainly do so. Do angels have to breathe air or do they need food and water? The Bible doesn’t say, but it is we who put God in a box and believe creation must exist a singular way for life to function. Consider this thought-provoking remark from John Farrington: “Sometimes God’s creation does not yield to scientific research without great effort and our results are not always what we would like or predicted.”
God is the Grand Artist and this is His masterpiece. Every artist puts something of themselves into their creations, so when evaluating art, it’s possible to get a sense of the artist by what they value, love, and treasure. When I look at the handiwork of God, I am in awe, and I am in awe because the Grand Artist, the supersizer of all time, loves me! He treasures me! He treats me with extravagance. He supersizes me with love, peace, grace, and mercy.
We, in turn, are to be extravagant toward others with those same qualities – love, peace, grace, and mercy. Ephesians 4:32 urges us to “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”
The story is told of a mother who once approached Napoleon seeking a pardon for her son. The emperor replied that this was the young man’s second offense, and justice demanded his death. “But I don’t ask for justice,” the mother explained. “I plead for mercy.” “But your son does not deserve mercy,” Napoleon replied. “Sir,” cried the mother, “It would not be mercy if he deserved it, and mercy is all I ask for.” “Well, then,” said Napoleon, “I will show mercy.” And her son was saved.” That’s supersize at work circa 1802. So, what will our supersize look like circa 2021? As always, our choice!
Bob and Susan Beckett pastor The Dwelling Place City Church at 27100 Girard Street in Hemet, CA. For more information, you may visit them at DPCityChurch.org
The Dwelling Place City Church | Contributed
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