Model Extravagant Love

Paul says in 1 Corinthians 13:13, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” Prior to this statement on love, he states that inspired speeches will be forgotten, understanding has its limits, we know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is incomplete! Right after these truths he says there is one thing that lasts: love. The Message calls it an “extravagant love.” What does that mean, “extravagant love?” As a father with five children ranging from six to 16, I think I’m just starting to figure this extravagant love thing out. Unfortunately, most of us dads come late to the game!

When it comes to raising children, Paul’s profound words in Scripture are so right on the money! As he states, inspired speeches will be forgotten. I begin to question, “How many speeches have I given my children?” There is the “don’t leave your wet towel on the floor” speech, the “make your bed” speech, and the “eat your food” speech. Let’s not forget the talks on “pick up your room” and “be nice to your brothers and sisters.” Then there are my personal favorites, which are baffling and beyond words. You know, the “don’t play with knives” speech and the ever-so-inspiring sex speeches!

Paul says understanding has its limits. Few statements are truer with regard to children and their understanding, or mine for that matter. “Dad, where did God come from?” I don’t know. “Dad, how do dinosaurs fit into the Bible?” Ask your mother. So. Many. Questions! So many answers a dad should have. Why do they do what they do? How do they say what they say? Only God knows.

Paul finishes with this one statement: There is one thing that lasts—love. I’m not sure about all the crazy things I have modeled for my kids, from times yelling at the top of my lungs to times hugging them and never wanting to let go! But here is what I know as a dad: God loves me unconditionally, even with all my flaws, mistakes, and foolishness. So what is my job as a dad? To love Mckennah, Jack, TJ, Hudson, and Georgia unconditionally!

Regardless of their flaws—the endless bickering, the pee OUTSIDE the toilet. Regardless of their mistakes—taking my road bike and leaving it behind a car to get run over. Regardless of their foolishness—staying up all night, leaving the ice cream out, stealing candy at the store. If I can love them EXTRAVAGANTLY the rest of their lives, I will be a loving father modeling the kind of love that Christ has for me.