God’s intention for us in creation (Part 2): Assurance

It is really fascinating to look at how Jesus related with the creation in the gospels. He spoke a lot about nature. Luke tells a story of how Jesus taught his disciples to fight the temptation to worry about provision in their lives. How would you encourage someone about that? Interestingly, Jesus used observations about God from creation.

LUKE 12

22 And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. 23 For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. 24 Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! 25 And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? 26 If then you are not able to do as small a thing as that, why are you anxious about the rest? 27 Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 28 But if God so clothes the grass, which is alive in the field today, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith! 29 And do not seek what you are to eat and what you are to drink, nor be worried. 30 For all the nations of the world seek after these things, and your Father knows that you need them. 31 Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.

Jesus told his disciples that to trust God more they should consider their special place in creation. Look, he said, at how God has made provision for all the needs of His creation. If He is taking such good care of the smallest of His pets, how much more does He care for His children! I find that fascinating. What do you think about when you look at ravens and lilies? I must admit, I don’t often look at a bird eating a worm and think: wow, God just provided a worm for the bird!

To Jesus, the birds above him and the grass below Him were a wonderful assurance of God’s commitment to take care of His needs. And that is the assurance that we can have when we consider the tree, and the sheep, and the cow, and the bee, and the ant. We are one them, and yet we are special. We can humble ourselves by acknowledging that we too are mere creatures that cannot add even a single hour to our life without God. We too are only a part of this creation of God that must rely on Him. That will help us realise that our source of provision must come from the Creator. And yet we can still be encouraged that we are much more precious than the birds or grass; we are the crown of His creation, and have a special place in His heart. Therefore, trust Him! He knows our needs, because he even knows what a little bird needs.

God made the birds for a purpose. Their purpose was not to provide for themselves. Their purpose was to fill the skies with a testimony to the Creator, to reflect the glory of God and bring Him (and us) pleasure by taking their designed place in creation. And God provides for the birds so that they can fulfil their purpose. If they spent their time agonizing over and controlling their resources of food, they would not be able to fulfil their purpose. Same with the grass. Grass needs to focus on being grass and leave God’s business to Him. And Jesus says, the ravens and the lilies ARE focused on their calling, and so therefore God is pleased to provide for that because He doesn’t expect them to be God. There is a wonderful assurance and peace in finding your place in God’s plan. And what is our place? Are we any different to the birds and the grass?

Our place in creation is to seek and establish the Kingdom of God. If we are anxious and worried about the things that God has committed to provide, we too will miss our calling. However, if we commit ourselves to fulfilling our God-given role and purpose on earth, Jesus promises us that God has committed to adding everything else to us. What a wonderful assurance! What a wonderful way to look at creation.

We need to consider creation more. I have experienced such amazing insights from the Holy Spirit simply by putting aside time to consider what I am looking at. What have you “considered” recently?

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6 thoughts on “God’s intention for us in creation (Part 2): Assurance

  1. Very encouraging, Love 🙂 It’s amazing to think that God even provides worms and then enables the birds to catch them!

    • Thanks Love. There really is so much to this scripture, I feel like I only scratched the surface. Like nature, the bible is meant to be considered! But I am hoping that our friends out there in the blogosphere will not be spectators and that the comments will actually add to the discuss so we can get the rest of the meat off the bone 🙂 so I’m not preaching on here, think of me as the guy who pulls out a bone and throws it out for the hounds 😉

  2. Pingback: God’s intention for us in creation (Part 3): Feeling small | Some Thoughts On Being Christian

  3. Hi!

    It’s funny to consider that God provided a worm for the bird from the worm’s perspective.

    I smile when you so boldly state that
    “Their [the birds’] purpose was to fill the skies with a testimony to the Creator”
    and
    “Our place in creation is to seek and establish the Kingdom of God.”

    I smile, because I often wonder – and profoundly wonder – about *why* God created creation. And I don’t believe that the answer is quite within the grasp of the created man. (It seems that you and I may differ in opinion here). I sometimes think the ‘best’ answer to why God made creation is ‘because He felt like it’. That is why musicians compose, and artists paint (although, admittedly, that is not the only possible reason).

    The reason for our existence (or: the reason for our creation), is of course something that almost all philosophically-inclined people ever have considered.

    I believe that, as a human living in 2012, I should follow Jesus’ commands and teachings, which entails, among other things, laboring for the Kingdom. This is my current ‘instruction’, but is that the same thing as God’s initial reason for creating mankind? It seems unlikely that we, as humans, or even as Christians, are expected to do the same thing now as what God intended for us to do when he created us. I say this because the context of our existence has radically changed: humans were not created to live in sin, and yet every man who has ever lived, save Jesus, has lived in sin.

    Now I feel like I’m babbling a bit, but I guess what I’m trying to accomplish is to highlight some of the things that I don’t really comprehend about God and creation.

    However, for me it is enough to know that I should seek and establish the Kingdom of God. And in having an instruction, I find purpose.

    I once heard a quote along the lines of:
    “If you can’t give a man anything, give him hope.
    If you can’t give a man hope, then give him something to do.”

    Just like ‘having something to do’ can help you deal with a hopeless situation, it can help me deal with not comprehending everything about God and creation.

    • Hi Pieka. Sho, when I read what I wrote in the post a year ago I can hardly remember writing or feeling these things. The disconnect actually helps me understand why people sometimes don’t ‘feel’ our enthusiasm about a topic about which we are experiencing revelation at the time. Another interesting thing about the ‘distance’ of the disconnect, for myself as well as the people reading, is that it also allows a totally different perspective (hence my desire for blog posts and comments!). Anyway, thanks for commenting – at the very least you seemed to find the post frustrating, if not encouraging. That’s fine, we don’t scratch if we don’t itch right? 😉

      First about what you said, and then a bit about what I said. It seems to me that what you point out and ask stems from the whole idea of paradigms. There is so much to untangle here, but I will give you my view in short. The problem I have with philosophical approaches is that they tend to try and back-pedal out of paradigms of thinking in order to somehow critically observe them. They are seeking, in a sense, the meta-narrative of life through logical deduction. Now I am all for thinking and a little postmodern common sense, but you can’t retreat out of the meta-narrative (that would be like falling off the edge of the world or something). So when we say “why did God make everything?” are we not perhaps trying the impossible – to separate ourself from the ‘un-zoom-outable’ biggest picture of all? God is in His own transcendent paradigm, but it was only given to us to live within the one which we created for and were born with – the underlying fundamental truth we witness with our natural senses – creation. Maybe that’s what you are saying, but I enjoyed trying to say it too. Hehe.

      But it does lead me to what I was trying to say in the post – namely, how we do we walk into (as opposed to back-pedal out of) the paradigm of creation. The world has taught us very well how to question our worldviews, but not how to walk confidently and informed in them. Breaking down is easier than building up. This is very practical – I was saying that when we back-pedal out of the truth that God is responsible for His creatures, we tend to be anxious about what we will wear and eat and drive and so on. And so what I find exhilirating is the fact that Jesus was teaching us how to step into a world full of righteous assumptions about the universe – not cold, hard theological facts, but a warm, comforting paradigm that we take for granted without fear. I am a creature, and that gives me a pre-ordained place in the world around me. I don’t need to make a place for myself, I just need to step into it and learn it and live it like the worms and the birds and the lilies. I know that doesn’t answer all the questions, but I guess it gets rid of some and reshapes others.

      I have lots more to say, but for now – do you see the same logic in Luke 12:22-31 or not? Does it seem as revolutionary for you as it seems it was for me a year ago or does it come across as obvious? I hope what I said above makes some sense, I am also rambling now but I am interested in your reaction to the meat of the post and not just the garnish! Thanks for the engagement, I look forward to more!

      • Hello my friend,

        Thanks for your reply – you raise several points I would like to respond to.

        First off, I want to be clear about the intent and focus of my original comment – it was not a critique or a challenge to the just of what your blog was saying. Rather, I ‘sniped’ a remark that made me smile and that provoked some thoughts. Had I not ‘sniped’ it, the only comment that I could have left would have been something like “I agree with the essence of what your saying and it’s very cool that we think so alike”. And in my opinion, that would not have led to any interesting discussion, so I feel like my plan has indeed come together 🙂

        To answer your ending questions:

        Yes, I see some of that logic in Luke 12, but it’s been a source of assurance to me for a long time, and therefore I am afraid it did not spark any reflationary feelings.

        My Dad’s favorite ‘saamsing’ song is “Kyk hoe dat die voëlitjies vlieg”, which is basically Luke 12 with a melody, so I’ve been singing that song since a very young age. To me, what stands out about that verse is that we should not be anxious and that God will provide (and from other scriptures I get: and even if he does not seem to provide, it will be fine). Additionally, at the end of the day being anxious is not gonna help you one bit, so you may as well not be.

        But, in your response, you shine light on the scripture from an angle that I’ve not considered before, namely ‘walking into the paradigm of creation’.

        I definitely think that the principle you are putting forward is in line with the general approach of Jesus’ teaching in that he give simple guidelines as to *how to live* and *what to do*, rather than talking about the ‘bigger picture’ and the meaning of life, the universe and everything. I like how he said that ‘he who hears my words and *do* as I say will be very blessed’ – as I said before, I like *doing*.

        What I am not certain of is whether this scripture concerns only not being anxious or a broader ‘walking into our *role*/*place* in creation like you suggest. This is something that I will go and reflect upon and then maybe I’ll speak to you about it again.

        I really liked how you describe the philosophical approach as back-pedaling, and the word “un-zoom-outable” that you use. I definitely agree with you in the sense that no matter how hard we try or how long we think, we’re quite unlikely to understand the bigger picture from God’s point of view. However, don’t try too hard to stand apart from the ‘philosophers’ – I, for one, don’t buy it 😉 You and I may be thinking about the world with our minds subjected to the gospel, but we are still thinking about (reflecting on), well, life, the universe and everything. To me, that is what it means to philosophical. There are many differences between us and some of the other philosophers, mostly regarding our presuppositions, but we can’t claim to not be philosophers.

        Thanks for an interesting answer, and I look forward to continuing the discussion!

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