You know how we can see God all around us? His fingerprints are all throughout creation, in the goodness that can be found in community, in the love that draws families together, in the satisfaction of a delicious meal, and even in the pain of losing our loved ones. Our eyes must be open to these clues of His presence!
Like some of you, one of my favorite places to see His fingerprints is in the creativity of the human mind. In all forms of entertainment, we can see the drive to create by the One who made us in His image.
Recently, I was watching a show with my kids called Tumble Leaf. Its cinematography is beautiful and the way it teaches kids about the world in such innocent ways is so refreshing. I believe I enjoy the show more than they do!
Each episode builds off a single random item. From a bowling ball to a salad bowl to a camera, a theme is built which teaches kids about the world.
The main character is a blue anthropomorphic fox who lives in a beached pirate ship. He waits for a strange crab, who is more or less a hermit (though not a Hermit Crab), to leave the day’s item in a treasure chest called “the finding place” on the bottom level of the ship. Upon finding this random gift, the episode commences and the item leads to interesting lessons in a beautiful world these artists and writers have created.
I couldn’t help but link the excitement that surrounds this fox’s discoveries with what is available to us when we pick up our Scriptures.
Just imagine with me for a moment that the crab is symbolic of the writers of Scripture who discover useful things about God and place them into the treasury of Scripture for us to find in our time. There is an excitement in the experience of visiting that Finding Place and seeing what will fuel our lives for the day.
Of course, one of the areas this illustration falls apart is exactly how we are fueled by these discoveries. The fox finds an item that drives his adventures for the day. Its only value is to satisfy curiosity and bring he and his friends some entertainment. This is a very “devotional-like” reading of Scripture. It can ignore the vast depths that exists in the Word and can be far more about inspiring us than feeding into a living and active relationship with One who is far greater than us.
Just think about that well known passage from 2 Timothy 3:16-17.
“All Scripture is inspired by God and beneficial for teaching, for rebuke, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man or woman of God may be fully capable, equipped for every good work.”
The amount of godly wisdom held in the pages of your Bible is truly inexhaustible. It all comes from Him and is so valuable in bringing us into shalom-living, or holistic flourishing. And yet might miss where all of that teaching and reproof and correction and training might ultimately lead. Yes, it very importantly leads to our good works which bring glory to God, but ultimately, we should be drawn back to verse 15.
“… from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
Our sacred writings do more than equip us, which can be an idol to those of us who want to use the Bible for an agenda like seeking to become the best version of “you” that you can be. It does more than correct and reprove, which can be an idol to those of us who see problems in the lives of other Christians that overwhelm us. It does more than teach and train in righteousness which can be a huge idol to those of us who are tempted to earn our own acceptability before God, especially through good works.
No – Paul was reminding Timothy of all that he had been taught by the likes of his grandmother Lois and his mother Eunice. What did they teach him? The value of God’s Word which “leads [us] to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”
All our Scripture’s value leads to a godly wisdom which yields good works, and for what purpose? Not because those works are the end to which we seek. No, those good works simply overflow from gratefulness to God for all that He has done. They don’t earn us anything whatsoever. But they do point the watching world to our God who welcomes them into a relationship with Him which would save their souls.
That is the stunning beauty to our “Finding Place.” It isn’t about getting “inspiration” for our day. It’s not about fitting into some mission that is greater than ourselves. It’s not about learning how to save ourselves. It’s about a Person. It’s about a relationship with the One who created us and loved us enough to send an answer to our hopelessness and brokenness.
That answer’s name is Jesus.
My prayer today is that we all unearth in the “Finding Place” a story that is so stunningly beautiful that it will alter our lives in ways we can’t comprehend. That, no matter what detail we discover, our understanding of the love and grace of our Savior leaves us in the most literal sense of wonder and awe. Please – recognize right now that God loves you. That Jesus died for you. And that He wishes to walk with you through all the ups and downs of this life and on into the perfection of eternity.
Love you all,
Young Adult Minister – Evan McNeff