God’s intention for us in creation (Part 3): Feeling small

God’s Word has a lot to say to us about how we should experience creation. In my last post, I pointed out how Jesus encouraged his disciples to really consider the small things in creation. He said: If God is so caring towards the creatures smaller and less significant than you, surely He is much more mindful of you? That has really revolutionized the way I perceive the tiny things around me, and how I look at myself. And yet, when you think about it, just as there are things much smaller than us that God cares for, there are also things much bigger than us that He cares for too! David was also a man who “considered” the creation. It is interesting to read what he thought about big things:

Psalm 8:3-4 (ESV)

When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

What do you think about this passage? It seems to me, that God deliberately made us quite small. We are in his image, and have dominion over all the creatures, and yet we aren’t the biggest, or the strongest, or the fastest. What does that say about the way man is to exercise his dominion (and thus reflect God’s dominion)? It is certainly not by might, or power. So why did God want us to look at the stars and feel little (I am assuming David’s response was the right one)? Why is it good for us to feel that way? Perhaps it protects us from pride to not have an inflated view of ourselves? And yet, on the other hand, I don’t think God intended for us to feel insignificant (which I do sometimes when star-gazing). Don’t you think that kind of reaction is the same false religious thinking that humility is about stripping yourself of dignity? What I found interesting about Psalm 8 is that David clearly assumes that although he is small, he is still significant to God. It’s a similar point to the one Jesus made: consider creation; you are thought about, you are valuable. When David looks up at the stars, he is not overwhelmed by his insignificance; he is stunned by his significance.

Do you think that is God’s intention? What do you think and feel when you are star-gazing?

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4 thoughts on “God’s intention for us in creation (Part 3): Feeling small

  1. So Love, do you think that the Lord was giving us a way to avoid pride and simultaneously tackle every individual’s struggle with self esteem? It’s not directly stated but that’s what I glean from your observations 🙂

  2. Just a note from your silent partner, I’m still here (in intentions at least), and that first post will be up someday…

  3. Hi!

    I liked that post. I like how rather than saying, there is a balance between feeling significant and ‘small’, you ought to feel both.

    I now find myself in a corporate environment and I have a deep appreciation about how things work here. And put the emphasis on the *work* rather than the *how*. I’ve had some experience with group work in studies, with university governance, with church governance and I have been living in a ‘democracy’ for a while now. And yet corporate governance has impressed me more than any of these other systems – for the simple reason that corporations manage to make things happen, which is more that can be said of any of the other examples (generally speaking, of course).

    They can make things happen not because they are all that efficient – anyone who has dealt with a corporate bureaucracy knows that they’re really not. It is because they are effective. They set targets and they meet them.

    I think one of the key elements that enables corporations to succeed here, where other institutions fail, is the fact that everybody knows their place and act accordingly. (This is where the relevance to the blog post comes in).

    Me and my colleague/immediate superior have an informal saying that:
    “In a corporation, everyone is someone’s b*tch.”
    (I apologise for the vulgar language in the context of this blog, but I really believe it gets the point across well.)

    What this means is not that we are treated badly or without respect or something. It means that when your superior tells you to do something, you do it. You do it right away. You do it without talking back. You do it exactly the way he/she wants it. Whether you agree with it or not, does not matter. What you think about it only matters if you are asked. What matters is how well and how fast you can carry out his/her command.

    Even the 12 top executive directors, the top of the top dogs has this attitude towards the CEO. They are ‘humbled’ by his presence. And then they leave his presence and ‘humble’ their subordinates.

    If you cannot work efficiently and relatively contently under this status quo, you will not be advanced, perhaps not even tolerated, in a corporate institution.

    But where I want to touch on your point is that this style of governance can only work if everybody (with the possible exception of the CEO) understands that there are people appointed over them AND that they are appointed over people. They must be able to receive and carry out commands well, but must be resolute and confident to give commands to their subordinates too.

    I’d like to compare this to our place in creation. Whether we are small or big is definitely a relative matter. The fact is that we, just like everyone and everything else in creation, have some above us and some below us. We should not feel small because there are ones much greater than us… or perhaps feeling small is appropriate, because we are small, in comparison to them. Nor should we feel exalted because there are some less significant than we are… or perhaps feeling exalted is appropriate, since God himself did put us above others, and certainly not without a reason.

    If you get stuck on feeling too small, you’ll not be able to take charge when and how you should. If you get stuck on feeling too exalted, you will become prideful, and there’s no need to go into the problems with that.

    Personally, the fact that God appointed us higher than any other creature (that we can see) inspires me to step up to the plate and ‘reign over creation’ diligently and honorably. That’s why I got involved in some of the green initiatives while I was a student.

    To answer your question: When I look at the stars, or the sunset, I usually just go “Wow! That’s beautiful! How privileged am I to be here to see this!”
    Sometimes I reflect on the wonder of how, as vast and marvelous as the universe with all its stars and galaxies might be, God put them there simply for us. To serve as markers of time… for us. On the one hand I am overwhelmed that something so huuuuge would be made… just for us. To consider the earth the center of creation seems both un-enlightened and vain. But from the story of creation it appears to me that that is how God sees it, and calling God wrong seems even more vain than the other option.

    So all I can say is:

    “Wow, God, YOU made all of this. Screaming winds and the crash of the oceans, shifting sands and the changing of the seasons. I marvel at it all and I am profoundly astonished that You would consider man worthy to appoint him over the work of His hands. But who am I to question your decision? Instead, I will try to be that which You told me to be…”

  4. Damn, I missed changing a “His” to “Your” in the last paragraph. I can’t see a way for me to correct it. Can you do it, Administrator? If you do, please go ahead and delete this comment too.

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