Friday, January 23, 2009

Extravagance and Thrift: Strange Bedfellows?

Can extravagance and thrift co-exist, or are they mutually exclusive? My interest in both subjects has recently been piqued, and I've been doing mind gymnastics ever since.

Here are my thoughts:

Extravagance is providing bread and fish for a crowd of 5,000--as much as they wanted.
Thrift is gathering up twelve baskets of leftovers afterward.

Extravagance is buying a wardrobe at Coldwater Creek.
Thrift is doing the shopping in January when the prices are reduced 70%

Extravagance is having two cars.
Thrift is driving one that is 15 years old.

Extravagance is having a whole afternoon to read.
Thrift is budgeting the time in advance.

Thrift seems to be the backdrop against which I can appreciate extravagance. How would I ever appreciate the costliness of a gift if I had never experienced the discipline of economizing? Thrift then, becomes a means by which I develop a spirit of gratefulness. It enables me to recognize and rejoice in the extravagances that God pours down upon me.

Incidentally, here's another gem: "lavish"~a synonym of extravagant~ comes from the old French word lavasse, which means "downpour."

That reminds me of the old hymn Showers of Blessing:

"There shall be showers of blessing:"
Send them upon us O Lord;
Grant to us now a refreshing,
Come, and now honor Thy Word.

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need:
Mercy-drops round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

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