The First Provision
29 God said, “See, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit; you shall have them for food. – Genesis 1:29 NRSV
In the South we want to earn everything. Working here at the Ministry Center, one of the constant refrains is, “I don’t want charity.” There is something about self-sufficiency and paying your own way that inflates the pride and instills a culture of fairness. I marvel at how such a religiously devout area of the United States, that is so overwhelmingly church-ed, could have an attitude more akin to Darwin than to Scripture. It is almost as if the South spouts off Christianity but lives survival of the fittest: eat or be eaten, earn your keep or be reduced to begging. What is so profoundly sad is that the message of our faith is that we are all beggars. Even before we saw the tree, met the snake, or bit the fruit, God had to provide for us in order for us to survive. We did not spring from the dust ourselves and have complete mastery of hunting and horticulture; God had to provide.
God even goes as far as to provide every “green plant” for all of the animals. Let’s be clear: I do not believe that lions ever grazed on grass (except maybe to help the digestion of meats). It is possible that God caused them to do so temporarily, but I do not think this is what the passage is trying to say. I think that point is the Earth would be God’s provision for all life and that at least in the Garden, predation was held in check by the supernatural hand of God. So here is another provision of God: protection from the natural order of things. Provision ends the sixth day, and God pronounces it indeed, “very good!” Not perfect, despite what some theologians like to believe, but still very, very good.
It is so easy for us to forget where even our food comes from; if we are healthy it comes from a market, if we are unhealthy it comes from a fast food restaurant. Either way, we buy our food in a disconnected fashion; we do not see the lettuce grow, or the chickens couped up in box-sixed pins become our nuggets. If we were more connected, maybe we be more awed at how God provides for us. We cannot make lettuce grow or chickens stay alive; those are things we depend on God for (even if we can scientifically explain the process). From food we could mention the countless other things that God provides in which we take for granted: air, sight, sound, taste, and the biggest…our eternal life in Christ. Let’s stop pretending we are self-made people, let’s stop screaming about fairness, and let us all find our provision at the feet of Jesus.
God is Good:
God has provided for us everything not just for our welfare but also for enjoyment.
God is Great:
God is responsible for even the air in our lungs; he is our only hope for eternal life and salvation.
Oh Lord, we recognize that you provide for us all good things to live and to enjoy; we also realize that we are all beggars and are entitled to nothing. May we live by grace and in gratitude; in the name of Jesus we pray, amen.