July 14, 2018 • Life for Leaders
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good…
I am delighted to introduce to you a new writer for Life for Leaders. Jerome Blanco has already had a significant impact on this devotional effort as an outstanding editor and producer. But Jerome has so much more to offer.
Jerome is a graduate of Wheaton College. He has an MDiv from Fuller and recently completed his MFA in creative writing from NYU. He is a thoughtful and talented writer with experience in a wide array of literary projects. Jerome was born in the Philippines and grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area.
I have encouraged Jerome to do some writing of Life for Leaders devotions, in addition to his excellent editing. As you read today’s devotion, you’ll see why.
Grace and Peace,
Mark D. Roberts
Many of us know how it goes: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). The great narrative of the Bible is kicked off with these words. The passage goes on to describe God crafting and ordering all things. The sky, the sea, the earth. The sun, the moon, the stars. The plants, the animals, the people. And beholding his work, God declares it “very good.”
As someone who was raised in the church, I can recall being told this story from a very young age. I had picture books that attempted to depict God spinning the universe into being—heavens and earth, every ordinary and extraordinary thing that exists. Words that find themselves at the beginning of an important book must themselves be very important.
Which is why I sometimes scratch my head at the way that I learned to describe the good news of God’s good story. I was a sinner, yet Christ gave himself in love and grace, so that I could be forgiven, saved, and given access to heaven. For a long while, that was how I knew to tell the story of the Bible, but curiously enough, the very good creation of Genesis hardly had a place in it. Or if it did, it was usually that all of it had gone sour in Genesis 3.
But with creation absent from the story, we don’t find much room for the ordinary and everyday things of life. We might wonder—like I often did—what everyday life on earth mattered to God, if someday we’d be whisked off to heaven to leave it all behind. But what if the Gospel really does involve all the ordinary stuff? Every bit of the “very good” creation that God smiled down upon. We’ll delve into these questions more in the devotions that follow.
Meditating on today’s passage however, I have a simple, yet overwhelming, thought: God cares deeply about ordinary things. If the world, and everything in it, has an important place at the beginning of the very important Christian story, then they must matter. If everything God made then was “very good,” then surely, even sin-tainted, a spark of goodness and the potential for redemption remains—just like it does for us.
The dirt we walk on, the sky above us, the chirping birds, and the crawling worms are part of God’s good story. They had a place from the start and will have a place through the end. Even the human-made materials around us cannot escape this fact, because all things—from iPhone to airplane—find their roots in the materials God crafted in the beginning. They were imagined and built by humans God made. Like Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote in his poem “God’s Grandeur”: “The world is charged with the grandeur of God. It will flame out like shining from shook foil.” So, in the everyday that you step into today, would you meditate on that reality? That all around you is a world—ordinary as much of it might seem—that God made and called “very good.”
Something to Think About:
What place do the ordinary and everyday things in your life have in the story of God?
Something to Do:
Meditate on the poem “God’s Grandeur” by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Let it shape how you look at the ordinary world today.
God, you made all things. And the world that you made—from the blazing stars to the worms of the soil—pleased you greatly. You are the God of not only the extraordinary but especially of the ordinary. Help us see that divine touch that charges the ordinary things of our ordinary days. And to remember that they matter to you. Amen.
Jerome Blanco works at Fuller Theological Seminary. He received his MDiv from Fuller Seminary and his MFA from New York University.