Our existence is a part of God showing himself to the world….
How does God do that?
How at least am I suggesting he wants to do that?
Well I think that we are the best thing God has ever made. The biblical creation story places us as the pinnacle of creation so much so that he is reflected in some way in us – reflected in particular by our ability to be creative and to be kind and in both ways to actively make things around us better.
I’m going to come back to the creativity stuff next time round.
Today I want to focus on the fact that God has made us for others, to be a blessing to them.
The problem of course is that people are a bit of a pain aren’t they? At this point I need to state that I am introvert and confess that once in a while I am a grumpy so and so. Take today for example – ideally today would have been a quiet haven of writing solitude. Only there was a plumber in the cellar. And an electrician in the upstairs bedroom. And noise. And dirt. And occasional lack of power. Marvellous.
Not great for writing but actually a great example of the fact that we all need each other. Because if I was doing the plumbing or the electrics it would end in tears and damage and quite possibly serious injury.
One of the values in our society is the idea of independence – it is a much lauded value, something parents seek to equip their kids to be – independent and strong and able to take on the world.
I don’t think that’s how we’re made. I think we’re made to need other people.
We start life being entirely dependent but then our society says that as adults we should move to independence, to getting our own stuff together, making our way in the world, making a life for ourselves. This shift to independent living leads us to individualism and isolation, to self-centredness and loneliness, to the anxiety that maybe we’re not very good at all of this.
There are lots of things I’m very bad at. In particular I am very bad at practical tasks. I can think of a long list of people who have helped me over the years with broken locks, smoking tumble dryers, leaking toilets and well the list goes on. I frequently need help.
I am good at my job and the previous jobs I’ve had but I’ve often needed people to give me help and advice.
Over the years my family and I would have been lost without friends, church leaders, doctors, builders and mechanics.
We all have blind spots. None of us can watch our own back.
We are made to need others. We are social animals. We are supposed to live in interdependent communities where we bring our gifts, knowledge and stuff together and make it into a wonderful human jigsaw.
That’s why the Bible calls the church, the body of Christ – the analogy is simple – we need each other, even grumpy introverts.
I think God has a very simple plan for our lives.
He wants to bless us.
Then he wants us to bless other people (in unique ways only we can)
Okay so the outworking isn’t simple but the idea is.
The idea is that God wants to be our source. He is the source behind life and our life and wants to be the source of that life working well.
That doesn’t mean to say that everything will always be rosy. God does not seek to take us out of a world where bad things can happen. God wants to be the source of us handling life and its challenges well so we are blessed by his presence, help and provision
And then we share those blessings with others
Imagine a world where people just want to bless other. Rather than fighting to get a bigger share we share what we have. In my experience blessings tend to multiply. When my wife takes great care of me when I’m not well, I want to find ways to show I appreciate her. When my bosses supports me, I want to do a great job to repay them. When my neighbours helps to fix something in my house, we invite them for a meal to say thank you.
Imagine a world where we are falling over ourselves to bless each other.
How? Well as the book of John puts it he needs to increase and we need to decrease.
This is what’s on offer:
The Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. Galatians 5:22/23 (New Living Translation)