Generous God (but not selfless…)

Genesis 1:26-28
God spoke: “Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature
So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle,
And, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth.”
God created human beings; he created them godlike,
Reflecting God’s nature. He created them male and female.
God blessed them.

 

At the pinnacle of creation, God brings in people. He creates them, but not as an addition to what He already made. He created them to enjoy and manage. To participate in the life of His creation, and to participate in life with Him.

God put so much of Himself in to creating this world – because He is not one to do things half-hearted. He called it good. He was so pleased with it. Proud of what He had made. In light of that, it makes the invitation to include people and delegate authority to them so much more staggering. It is an incredibly generous gesture, from the heart of a generous God.

That’s how He created us too. As generous humans. It’s innate within us to be generous and thoughtful to the people and environment around us. It’s part of who we are and why we exist. As with anything though, if you ignore the generous inklings (perhaps you can read that as ‘the promptings of the Spirit’), then over time the desire for generous living can become easier to ignore and ultimately disappear from our character. That is how we find ourselves in a world with some who don’t appear to be generous at all. It can be fixed though; generosity breeds generosity.

Generous God, generous creation, generous people.

There is no doubt that things are not as they should be…but it is still good, with glimpses of heaven on earth.

I don’t see this creative and generous act of God as completely selfless though. I don’t necessarily see God Himself as completely selfless. He is relational and therefore He receives the benefit of relating with us and His creation. This brings Him joy. He receives because of His generosity. I wouldn’t call it payment or reward, more like fruit. Fruit that He knows is coming. Perhaps our thinking of how selflessness is an attribute that we should strive for, needs adjustment. I don’t see it mentioned anywhere in the Bible – it is definitely not a fruit of the Spirit.

This can change the way that we think about our generosity towards others. It releases us to be generous with reckless abandon and willingly receive the benefits, or fruit, that come our way as a result. We don’t need to shy away from it or be embarrassed because we feel good when we give. Not that feeling good becomes the sole motivation for generosity, but it’s ok to receive benefit for doing good, for being generous and thoughtful. This does not diminish the work that we do.

Occasionally I think of the dark side of relationships and how God reaps the fruit of that too. He endures the worst of it, as we do. Rejection, hurt, dishonesty, hatred, fear and misunderstanding – all at the hands of what He created. Because of us. It’s not all love songs and roses. Still, He is generous with love for us and we bring Him joy.

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