A Souvenir of Extravagance...

An amazing thing happened to me while we were in Bangkok last week. It all started on the final night of the conference at the banquet dubbed "Cultural Night". Everyone wore the traditional dress of their country; and with over 600 people representing countries from all over Asia it was certainly an amazing sight. We saw Japanese Kimonos, Korean Hanboks and jewel-toned saris, to name a few. Adding to the festive atmosphere of the evening, many of the delegates were generously passing out small trinkets and souvenirs to anyone and everyone, proudly representing their countries!

Pink Sari

Towards the end of the evening, we met a couple from Sri Lanka named Dinesh and Dinu who struck up a conversation with us asking about the Akha clothes we were wearing. Dinu was wearing a beautiful bright pink sari and I told her that I had been admiring it all evening (which I had.) We probably talked for less than 5 minutes before the evening ended and we all headed up to bed.

Lori in her sari

The next morning, Paul and I were sitting waiting for the session to begin when Dinu came and sat down next to me. She said, "I have a gift I want to give you, but it's up in my room. At break I'll go up and get it for you." After the session, she found me and asked if I could go to the room with her so that we wouldn't lose each other in the crowd.

When we got to there, Dinu pulled out the beautiful sari she had been wearing the previous night. This was the gift she wanted to give me! I was awe struck! With tears streaming down my face I told her how I had said to Paul, "If you ever want to buy me a new dress, I want one just like hers!" When I had composed myself, she explained that after the banquet she felt the Lord prompting her to give this sari to me. She didn't know my name or our room number, so she said, "Ok Lord, if I see her again tomorrow, I'll give it to her."

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the flowers of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the unbelievers run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.

-From Jesus' Sermon on the Mount found in Matthew 6:28-33

In the past, whenever I heard those verses I always tended to focus on one word: need. I've heard enough sermons on this passage in my life to remember the lesson that God provides for all our needs, but I've always been left with the vague impression that His provision applies only once we've hit a certain level of destitution. Even then, that provision is only what we "need" and nothing more. But as I read this passage today, all I can think about is God's amazing extravagance. By no meaning of the word did I "need" that sari, but the Lord poured out his extravagant love for me and fulfilled the desires of my heart. Today, I feel like a lily of the field adorned in God's finest!

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