Ephesians 4: 7-10
But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. This is why it says:
‘When he ascended on high,
he took many captives
and gave gifts to his people.’
(What does ‘he ascended’ mean except that he also descended to the lower, earthly regions? He who descended is the very one who ascended higher than all the heavens, in order to fill the whole universe.)
Psalm 24: 1-2
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it,
the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas
and established it on the waters.
When we come to the Bible, we sometimes approach it as a self-help manual or an instruction book which contains spiritual nuggets of truth for better living. We peruse it's pages perhaps seeking motivation, guidance or inspiration. While we will find all of these things within the pages of Scripture, we must understand that what we are reading is so much more than a set of rules or a guide to the good life. It is a book, or a collection of books, written by and recounting the experiences of men and women over hundreds of years. God breathed on their words and within this book He has chosen to reveal His nature, character and activity. As one writer makes clear: "We are forever getting confused into thinking that Scripture is mainly about what we are supposed to do, rather than a picture of who God is." (Stanley Hauerwas) Everything we read flows from this understanding.
In Scripture God reveals Himself through a story and shows us our part within that story. It's a huge story that began long before we arrived here and will continue long after we depart. A story so vast, so comprehensive, it involves every person who has ever been born and encompasses every place in the entire cosmos. There is no realm of the universe, no nation or race, no sector of society, no corner of culture, no friend or family member, excluded from this story. It's the greatest story ever told, the only one that makes sense of every other story.
In a narcissistic, humanistic world, where we try to make everything about ourselves, where we think we are the central characters in the unfolding drama, it's crucial that we understand that this isn't primarily our story - it's His story. It's not all about me - it's about Him. It had it's beginning in Him. And it will have another beginning when He decides it's time to unveil His new creation, similar to this one, only so much better. At the very centre of this re-creation where earth and heaven meet will be a throne. On that throne will be seated One so glorious, so stunning, so awesome, so powerful - that just to glimpse Him will cause us to fall face down in worship and adoration. Our worship of Him in this life is simply a shadow, a foretaste, of what lies ahead. It is an acknowledgement of His eternal reign and rule over all things.
Rick Warren's book, The Purpose Driven Life, begins with this sentence: “It's not about you!” Do you believe that? Does your life reflect that? Because, often without realising it, we keep trying to put ourselves back at the centre of the story. We seek to place our posteriors on the throne. We act as if the universe revolves around us and our needs. Which is strange because, when you really think about it, the most liberating part of this story is that it's not all about me. Everything doesn't depend on my performance and proficiency, my ability and activity. Therefore I can relax. I can even rest for one full day every week. He's got it covered. He'll take care of things. That's really good news.
Take time today to reflect on these words: "The earth is the Lords, and everything in it." (Ps 24: 1) Everything, everywhere is His. It all belongs to Him. That includes the universe and you, creation and your kids, the galaxies and your gifts, the cosmos and your car, the stars and your salary. He is Lord over it all and He isn't one little bit stressed about it. So why should you be? He did once remind us that, if He can take care of the birds and the flowers, He can certainly look after our needs as well. (Matt 6: 28-30)
Is there anything or anywhere in your life today which is not completely surrendered to Him? If so, it is probably causing you unnecessary stress and anxiety. Everything not surrendered to Him can't be protected or provided by Him. Why not take His advice: "...seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." (Matt 6: 33)