Saturday, June 1, 2013


It's a beautiful sunshiny day here in Cokato.  I'll try again today to get the rest of my garden planted.  I tried yesterday but it was still too muddy out there for fruitful work.

Sunshine isn't just here to make me happy.  Sunshine is one of the ingredients necessary for life.  Whenever we get focused on our feelings, whether it's our happiness or sadness, God would turn us around and say, "It's not about you."

God loves life.  God makes human beings to be the earth's masters and caretakers.  We have a responsibility that goes beyond ourselves as individuals.  Whenever we begin to say that God intends anything for mere pleasure, or any human emotion such as joy or love (as an emotion), God would say "Watch out.  Be careful that you don't become self-centered."

The jucara is the dominant palm tree in the Brazilian Atlantic forest. Its seeds are dispersed mostly by birds.
As an example of this, see the article from National Public Radio about Big Mouthed Toucans.  According to the article, human beings have built more and more homes in the Brazilian rainforest, and, seeking pleasure in their living situations, humans have sinfully broken the cycle of life there.

The same has happened around the world.  Instead of honoring God's plan that we would be masters and caretakers of all God has given, we have exploited the earth for our own benefit.

Nothing in life is just about me.  It's always about others, and, I would say, it's especially about the generations to come.  That's why God connects, in scripture, the gift of sunshine with rain, and both as needed, not for good feelings primarily, but about life... and about "bearing fruit," that is, being fruitful and multiplying life.

We human beings are always on the lookout for more and more comfort.  Our sinful selves crave more and more pleasure.  As one looks out at the devastation that humans have caused on earth, reducing the number of species that God created instead of guarding and protecting them, one can see sin at work.  It is so sad.

Nothing in life is really "about me" or my pleasure.  Even the most personal and pleasureable things, for example, eating and sex, are guarded by God from being purely self-centered because both have more significant purpose for these activities.  Eating is really for sustaining and maintaining life so that I can do what God has called me to do--to be "fruitful" in my work.  Eating is not really about making me feel good, even though there is very little that makes us feel more loved and happy than a good meal.  We find the same in terms of sex.  Feelings of erotic love and the sexual acts are hugely pleasurable, but they have another purpose.  Sexual intercourse, as wonderful as it is, is designed by God for begetting children, for being "fruitful."*  We can see this as we consider God's purpose in putting strict limits on sexual relations.

Even in these most personal things, we get in trouble when we separate the pleasure from the purpose of "fruitfulness."  The same is true when it comes to living for our own comfort in any way.  We need to consider this as we, for example, consider turning on our air conditioners this summer.  What effect is that having in the wider world?  What's my environmental footprint?  Will I care about the effects it has on others beyond myself and those I know personally?  Or will I allow the Spirit of God to move me to follow Jesus, who lived for others instead of for himself? (Philippians 2:3-5)

I've written this quickly today (and revised it once) and I'm sure there are (still) things that could be sharpened about this post... Let me know what I've missed by commenting below, sending me an email, or by otherwise contacting me.  Let's keep the dialog going.

*The fact that many sexual acts don't result in children does not make sex's purpose merely self- or couple-centered.  For more on this see Why Not?

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