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  • Writer's pictureGreg Dover

Greg's Weekly Word: "extravagance"

I was really excited when I randomly drew my star word for this year.

It felt like an excuse to go "all out" and be "over-the-top" (at least, more so than I already do/am). I quickly was brought down to earth when I began to read about the word's meaning.

I researched the word itself - extravagant. (Which I know is not exactly my word, but since extravagance is just the quality of being extravagant, I figured it was ok). As expected, the definition included "lacking in moderation/restraint" or "exceeding the limits of reason or necessity." And while these can be negative traits, I suppose it depends how you are being extravagant, and with what.


The extravagance of conspicuous consumption...not so good. Being extravagant (i.e. over-the-top) just for the sake of being over-the-top...less-than-ideal. But extravagant grace, mercy, compassion, giving - the kind that lacks restraint and exceeds necessity? Well, that sounds just about divine.

The roots of the word "extravagant" come from Latin words meaning (combined) "to wander outside of." By the 15th century, it would also mean "extraordinary" or "unusual," which was then extended to mean "excessive."

But I wonder if I (we?) might find ways to wander outside of the ordinary this Epiphany season... If we might go beyond expectations, and find (and practice!) what the Apostle Paul called "a more excellent way" (1 Cor 12:31) - the way of extravagant love.

I realize that I often operate with a mindset of scarcity and worry about having enough, doing enough, being enough. Which can lead to an anxious withholding of myself and my resources (emotional and mental, attention and energy and time, not to mention monetary and material). During this season, though - and hopefully from now on - I want to focus on extravagance: not with possessions or things or experiences, but to be excessive with kindness...with my time...with my presence...with love.


What are you learning about your star word? How are you experiencing it, and how is God using it to lead and guide you? Let me know with a comment or send me a message. I'd love to hear!

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