Day 1: Generosity and Creation
“The heavens are yours; the earth is also yours; the world and all that is in it, you have founded them.” – Psalm 89:11 (emphasis added)
All things. Not some things or many things. Rather, all things. When the Bible speaks of “heaven and earth” in the context of creation, it is not simply drawing attention to God’s ability to make material things. The word-pair “heaven and earth” is a short way of saying “everything” in the same way our friends who claim to work “day and night” are claiming to work “all the time.”
It is a life-altering claim. When we think of God as creator, we often focus on his ability to form animals, plants, planets, etc. But the Bible says something more astounding. God is not just the divine Creator. He is the great Sovereign, or Lord, over heaven, earth, and everything between them. To put it simply, God is Lord of all things. He doesn’t just make things. He has full power over them as well.
Some of us may be familiar with Psalm 24:1: “The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein” (KJV). That word “fullness” is the same one used in Psalm 89:11. Fullness: in one respect, it means everything that fills up the space between the outer boundaries of “heaven and earth.” It fills out. It fills up. It is full to the brim. Even more, God has created heaven and earth filling it with things he repeatedly called “good” (Gen. 1).
God makes things. The things He makes are good. Even better, God’s creation overflows with these good things. God’s creation represents not simply the materials needed to function, but a fullness characterized by beauty and goodness. Think about the way God must view the world.
- When I hear beautiful bird calls outside my window, God hears a chorus not of birds in general, but of every single type of bird and their specific contribution to that chorus. Wood thrush, house wren, brown-streaked song sparrow, robin, and finch.
- When I look at trees, I might say, “Those are beautiful trees.” What God sees is every single species of beautiful tree, from their roots to their blooms, and the colors they contribute to the hue of the forest. Dogwood, Southern Magnolia, hibiscus, bald cypress, Eastern Redbud, fir, white oak, pine.
God owns all these things. God is sovereign over all these things. And yet God has given them to us as gifts to revel in, so we may join their chorus of praise. God’s mastery over “all things” in creation is not some sort of power play by which he seeks to make his creation cower into serving him. God’s creation is an expression of His divine generosity and a witness to his desire that we likewise act generously (Ps. 19:1-6).
The perfect image of God’s purpose in creation is illustrated in Col 1:15-20, which speaks of Jesus having created “all things” (v. 16), holding together “all things” (v. 17), and coming to reconcile “all things” in heaven and earth to himself (v. 20) through his blood. This act of self-giving is the ultimate act of generosity. Yes, creation is a gift from God. Even more, Jesus Christ is the Father’s gift to the world.
- It is a reference to what God has made.
- It is a reminder about the parts of our life over which He is sovereign.
- It is a testimony to His beauty and goodness.
- It is an invitation to generosity.
God has made us caretakers of “all things.” He invites us to enjoy and imitate His generosity. We reflect His glory when we give. We need not worry about anything, because our God is Lord of all things.
- Think for a moment about the connection between creation and generosity. Look out the window or envision something you find especially beautiful. What beauty of creation can you identify at this very moment that serves a witness to God’s generosity toward us?
- We often live as though we are sovereign. Sometimes, we intentionally and unintentionally try to usurp God’s role as sovereign Lord in certain aspects of our lives (speech, work, sexuality, finances, diet, exercise, etc.). In these areas, we fail to walk in the truth that God is Lord of all things. What parts of your life are you tempted to try and become your own lord?
Maker of Heaven and Earth, give us eyes to see the bounty of gifts in what you have given. You have moved toward us in grace and truth and have offered us fullness of life. You have given us your Son as the ultimate embodiment of generosity, and he holds all things together. Through your Holy Spirit, grant us the power to become living gifts to this world by offering ourselves to you and to others. Open our mouths so that they may join creation’s chorus of praise. Amen.