The Extravagance of the Unseen

As a writer, I am intrigued with words and how their use changes through generations. Just look at what our tech-manic world has done to words like swipe, cloud, tablet, text, tweet and viral, to name a few.

So I naturally became intrigued when I tripped across the Urban Dictionary. Thinking it was a Merriam-Webster-type knockoff, I found myself drawn into this magical compendium of word use and re-use, and topsy-turvy ways of seeing today’s world through words. For better or worse.

In the standard world of dictionaries, accepting a new word means applying strict criteria and professional, educated editors. It is a rigorous process.

In the Urban Dictionary world, it’s a bit different.

Someone, anyone, submits a word. It could be a common one redefined (e.g., twitter or cloud), or a made up one that is regularly used, although never conventionally defined (e.g., Webster’s). Then volunteer editors (probably likeminded, slang-culture followers), loosely bound by their own opinions and preferences, vote on whether or not the contributor’s word gets published. If the “new word or definition” gets enough of their votes, it will be published as “fact.”

Culture defining culture, right?

So when I started exploring the concept of extravagance, I was fascinated to learn the Urban definition has morphed a bit from its “official” meaning, which is: something “excessively wasteful and overspent, using too much of something.”

The Urban Dictionary flipped it upside down, so that rather than describing something that seems a bit distasteful, it becomes something “absolutely fantastic, more than good, out of this world brilliant.

Morphing these two definitions together, the combined one might look something like this:

Extravagance: excessively and absolutely fantastic and out of this world brilliant

Perhaps that is the definition that Paul had in mind when he wrote to the church at Ephesus using the word lavish, a synonym of extravagance (no matter which dictionary you use).

In him we have redemption through the blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight… ~Ephesians 1:7-8 {ESV}

God, in all his goodness, decided that an extravagant down-pouring of grace and forgiveness and redemption was exactly what we needed, and exactly what He was – and is – willing to give to us. Every day.  

His extravagant, lavish,

out-of-this-world brilliant, more than good,

stream of goodness that has made me His child.

And this extravagant, excessive gift is one we cannot see except by faith, but is eternal, always, and forever a gift of extravagance from our God. ~2 Corinthians 4:18 (paraphrased)

It’s in the extravagant invisible where the gold lies. It is where the extravagant excess overflows into a life lived for Him.


Grace & Such strives to advance Christian growth among women. While we believe the Bible is the inspired Word of God, we also recognize human interpretations are imperfect. Grace & Such encourages our readers to open their Bibles, pray for wisdom and study for themselves what the Word says. For more about who we are, please visit the About Us page.
Diane Karchner
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  1. Sarah Eshleman on August 2, 2019 at 3:22 PM

    I loved this post. We learn so much by going back to definitions. You made your point beautifully. Thank you for this.

    • Diane on August 19, 2019 at 5:08 PM

      Thanks, Sarah. Words are so taken for granted these days, thrown around, misused. Yet, they can convey such beauty when used appropriately.

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