First, it was my birthday. August 18. It’s one of the reasons for the name of this column.
And to celebrate, I came up with an idea to ask for imaginary gifts from friends on social media, which I would then draw, posting the evolving art. I did something like this a few years ago, with great success, so this time I decided to illustrate them in the various compartments of a “curio box” I had ready to visually fill.
You’re looking at the finished product.
What prompted this was a tiny word in a familiar verse. I was meditating again on the statements about Jesus in Colossians 1 and noticed this:
all things have been created through him and for him. (my emphasis)
This little preposition has huge implications. Think of it: every created thing not only came into being through Jesus, it belongs to him. When I walked outside today, everything I saw – the varied flowers, the trees, the birds that flew overhead, the sky in all its changing beauty – exists for his pleasure. They are his flowers, trees, birds and sky.
Man-made things are a bit trickier. I’m reluctant, as I sit here to write this, to call this his computer on his kitchen table surrounded by his appliances. That may be stretching this concept a fridge too far.
But all the ingredients that go into those objects are his handiwork. As are our abilities to think, plan and execute. Jesus has, at least, partial ownership of all our things.
Our role, then, is like that of a small child who forgot his mother’s birthday. He goes around the house, looking for something that to give her that already belongs to her. “Here,” he says, presenting his little found treasure. “This is for you!”
When we enjoy something of the world around us and give sincere thanks for it, in a sense we give it back to him. It already belongs to him. But we are meant to be a part of the process of fulfilling its purpose: to be for him.
In a way, it’s a bit like this drawing I did yesterday. I’ll admit, it is a little awkward to ask people to give me imaginary presents. On the surface, it feels self-serving. But I knew that their participation would be enjoyable for them. (One friend said it was “meaningful and fun.”). Their giving to me is a part of my process of giving to them.
We are called to join into the process of returning all things to Christ. As we go about our days, let’s find things we can frame up with thankfulness and say to Jesus,
“This is for you!”
Lord, it’s wonderful to think that everything finds its purpose in pleasing you. Point out to us today things we can return to you in thanks.
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