The God With Us Podcast

Do I Have Anything to Offer? On Our Purpose (Foundational Ep. 4)

October 31, 2019 Geoff Holsclaw
The God With Us Podcast
Do I Have Anything to Offer? On Our Purpose (Foundational Ep. 4)
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The God With Us Podcast
Do I Have Anything to Offer? On Our Purpose (Foundational Ep. 4)
Oct 31, 2019
Geoff Holsclaw

Please join the God With Us Podcast Community(on Slack), where you'll get updates, resources, and be able to continue the conversation, and even help us plan future episodes.

In this last foundational episode, talk about the second half of what it means that humanity is created in God's "image", and what it means for understanding God as "God with us."

Have you ever questioned your purpose, wondering if what you do really matters?

Humanity was made to live in God's presence (as God's idols). And humanity was made to represent and extend God's kingdom as his images.

Show Notes Transcript

Please join the God With Us Podcast Community(on Slack), where you'll get updates, resources, and be able to continue the conversation, and even help us plan future episodes.

In this last foundational episode, talk about the second half of what it means that humanity is created in God's "image", and what it means for understanding God as "God with us."

Have you ever questioned your purpose, wondering if what you do really matters?

Humanity was made to live in God's presence (as God's idols). And humanity was made to represent and extend God's kingdom as his images.

Geoff:

Yeah, sure . There we go. Check. We are love . You're doing the intro. Oh three two...This is Geoff and Cyd Holsclaw and welcome to the God with us podcast where we explore the intersection of God's presence and purpose in everyday life. If you have trouble imagining how God or how you can connect with God in ordinary moments, then please join the conversation . We're glad to have you.

Cyd:

Yeah, and this is our fourth episode of this freshly minted podcast. And if you've missed the previous three, we're still sort of laying the groundwork for what this whole podcast is going to be about. So the first episode we talked about, why are we doing a podcast called God with us? And just sort of introducing the idea that we're never alone because God truly is always with us. And then in the next episode we talked about joy and what is joy. And we defined joy as the experience of being with someone who is glad to be with you. And we talked about how God is always glad to be with us so we can always be experiencing joy. And then in our last episode we introduced to the concept or the idea about being the idols of God, not just being the image of God, but actually being the idols of God and that that's why many, many of mind maybe, and Jeff talked a lot, which really fast, he talked really fast, which I guess many of you speed up your pad guests anyway.

Geoff:

So I guess he's at just the right speed and you'll have to deal with my slowness. Those of you who might be watching on video, once we start posting those, like Sid's going to give me the like slow down motion every once in a while and I'll probably end up giving her the speed up motion. So although hopefully if you're someone who likes to listen to people talk fast, you'll be pleased with Jeff . And if you like things to slow down, maybe you'll be content with me. We like to think that this is a generative tension where good and better things are produced through this tension of absolutely. So today we're talking about does my work matter? So we want to talk about the second half, which I sort of divided too many halves in the last episode, the second half of the idea of being created in the image of God.

Cyd:

So last time we talked about the presence of God and being the idol of God. Yeah. And belonging in God's presence. And today we're going to talk about what that, what , what the work is or the purpose that comes out of that blessing. So we have on the one hand, presence and belonging as these kind of foundational concepts. Now on the other hand, it's a longing in God's presence. We have a purpose and blessing. Yes. Yeah. And if you have ever been in a season of your life where you questioned your purpose and wondered sort of what life was about, you are familiar with how just disruptive and disturbing that anx can be. And for me experienced that a couple of different times. But one of the most pronounced was when I first started staying at home when our son [inaudible] was born. Now, first of all, he was born a month early. So that transition came a month sooner than I thought it was going to come. And then secondly, it was just that I had always been really excited about my jobs and I had had good jobs and I worked really hard and I enjoyed being a working person and we had decided, and it was really important to me to stay home with Soren. And so when I first started staying home with them , at first it was great. I dunno if you remember, but I loved it. It was like, I can do whatever I want. I don't have to get dressed, I can take naps, I can read books, I can plant things in the garden, I can do whatever I want. And it was really freeing at first when the, when there's like the baby blob where it's like, yeah, I slept a lot. He was, you know, pretty content. Totally cute. And he would say that. Right. And I mean, as far as babies go, he was an easy, easy baby. So life was really happy at first. And then after a couple of months of that I got to a point where I was like, Oh my goodness, it's just like, it just never ends. He needs to be fed again. His diaper needs to be changed again. He needs to take a nap again at nine and a half. It's just sort of got to this place where it was like the repetitiveness of it and the monotony of it just started to wear on me and I sort of came to this place of like, what is my purpose right now? And of course now I know so much more about brain science and what is going on with attachment and joy foundations and all that kind of stuff. And I almost hesitate to say that it was felt meaningless because now I know just how packed with meaning that season really was. But in the moment it felt like I would go and hang out with people like that . Especially Jeff was, I would, I would go meet people that Jeff was out in the world interacting with and he'd introduce me and then they'd say, so what do you do? Well, I stay at home with my son. Oh. And then people don't know what to talk about because what do they ask you? Right, well how many diapers did you change today? Or how many times did it it , it's just like the , anyway, enough of that or you just remember in this season of just thinking, what in the world is my life about? Cause I feel like I'm always in this house or I'm out walking with a stroller and I would try to get to know our neighbors. But most of the time people weren't out and about or if they were out and about, they spoke a language that I couldn't interact in. And so I was having a really hard time feeling like anything that I did really mattered because everything I did was undone immediately. Like nothing ever lasted. I remember someone said to me once at a baby shower before Soren was born, on days when you feel discouraged, opened up a drawer and organize it and then you'll feel so much better than I thought. That woman is absolutely insane. And then I found myself opening a closet and folding the towels and stacking them neatly. And it was so satisfying the door because that baby could not get right . And then I went back to that closet like a week later and I was like, Oh, my work mattered. It's still there. But right. Folding towels just didn't feel very significant. Doing all of the things that I was doing as a stay at home just didn't really feel that important. And I remember really struggling in that season of like, is anything that I'm doing, does it really matter? Like how am I part of the kingdom of God? How am I part of the mission of God? Because up until that point, I felt like I had been able to participate and now I felt almost like I'd been benched. Like, you know, you're out for awhile . And it was, it was a tough season. And at that was the season when I feel like I became most in touch with that question of does my work really matter? And not only does it matter to the people in my life, but more importantly, does it even matter to the kingdom of God? Like what difference am I making?

Geoff:

And the gospel or the truth or the good news that we want to say is what the God that our work does matter. Absolutely does matter. All those things matter because we are made in God's image and part of that means that we're part of God's kingdom. We're part of his family, and we like to say we are part of God's family business is that God has entrusted us with part of the family business, which is to extend or live or move in the kingdom of God.

Cyd:

Yeah. And I think that at that point in my life, I had a very sort of spiritualized understanding of the kingdom of God in the sense that the kingdom meant it had to be explicitly about God. It had to be explicitly about the good news, and I wasn't really grasping that. Now where I feel like the , the kingdom of God is the flourishing of life because God and you said I got to talk about

Geoff:

Yes, but not yet. You are getting a head . I'll talk about that later. Yeah, we'll talk about it later. But I was flourishing life . The life of our son. I was flourishing. The life of the, of the, of the house we lived in. I was flourishing the garden I was flourishing or neighborhood percent agree. Absolutely. All right , so why don't we roll back to Genesis one. Let's just like we did in the previous episode where we talked about Genesis two , but now we want to talk about Genesis chapter one. But to do that, I want to talk about North Korea. Now, North Korea has been ruled for the last North Korea. In Genesis one I automatically think of North Korea when I read Genesis one connection in a second. If you'll listen. So gen , not Genesis, once you threw me off, North Korea has been ruled by the Kim family for the last almost 70 years. It's our grandfather and then our , and then the father. And now the son or the grandson his ruling North Korea and what the three of them have always done is erect statues of themselves and put pictures of themselves in public places, hospitals libraries, post offices, any public place. There's pictures of themselves. And then on the highest mountain, they do that well on the highest mountain in North Korea right now three giant statutes are being erected. Now why do you think they're doing that? And you asked the rhetorical question, the reason why is what,

Cyd:

So that everywhere the people go, they remember who's in charge.

Geoff:

Yes. Wherever they go, they remember who's in charge. And this is happening now, which is why I brought it up. But it's also what happened in the ancient world and the world and the thought world of the ancient near East, how we is, how scholars usually call it, which is the world that we hear and learn about in Genesis one, in all the book of Genesis. But in Genesis one, it talks about images and ancient rulers would take images of themselves, of giant statues and put them at the edges of their territories to signify your coming into someone else's kingdom. And I'm in charge of that kingdom. Or they'd put them at the center of the cities to remind all the people living in that city. Hey, remember the King is in charge and that's great for who ? That's great for the King. So the King is marking out his territory and the King of like Egypt or Babylon or other cultures, we're often thought to be God's image or the God's image that they were King. That's the bad news for everyone else's . It's just the King in those surrounding cultures who were thought to be made in that God's image. And because they were making that God's image, they were then commissioned to , this is like the divine right of Kings. They were commissioned or had the divine right to rule over everybody else, which is good news for the King of bad news for everyone else. Right? Really bad news. So when we get to Genesis chapter one and people hear this statement in verse 27. So God created humanity in his image, in the image of God, he created them, male and female. He created them. Them all of humanity. Genesis claims is made in God's image, not just one person, not just the King. All of humanity is made in God's image, which means all of humanity shares and participates in God's Royal rule over all creation. God has placed humanity at the center and at the borders of God's kingdom and empowered them to be living representatives, living ambassadors, and not just ambassadors because that feels kind of detached, but part of the Royal family, the Royal family is on delegation all over the world. The family business of the Kings reign. Yeah . And so that's true for all of humanity.

Cyd:

Yeah. And it kind of reminds me of well, you know, George MacDonald who used to write fiction and he inspired Tolkin and C S Lewis and one time he wrote a lot of stories that were fantastical stories and a reader once asked him, why you always writing about princesses? And George McDonald replied, because every little girl is a princess. And so then he said to the reader, what do you mean by a princess? And the readers said to George McDonald , well, that means the daughter of a King. And so then George McDonald replied back by saying, exactly. That's why I write about princess is because every little girl is the daughter of the King. And so that makes you think about all of humanity, all of all of us, our princes and princesses, because we all belong to the Royal family. We're all part of the family business, and we're all part of the kingdom of God extending the rule and the reign of God and everywhere that the rule and the reign of God extends, life is meant to flourish because we as the, as the ambassadors and as the Royal family are supposed to be conduits of the blessing of God. So the blessing of God is supposed to flow through us to all the borders. You're nodding at me like, ah huh . No, I was just , it's just nodding. Like, yes, go finish your idea. And so thinking about the conduits of blessing we had at, at our old house in the Chicago area, we decided we were going to knock down a wall once, which was really fun to go at one to knock the wall down. If you haven't done it and you can afford a wall locked down , you should knock down. It's a lot of fun . We ran into a problem because when we knocked the wall down, we discovered that not only was there an electrical outlet in the wall, but that electrical outlet turned out to be the junction box for, it was like the whole house practically. So all of the electricity was running through this one junction box, which meant that we couldn't just rip it out because all of those wires had to stay connected or we would lose the electricity in all of the house. So now suddenly we have no wall anymore, but we have these electrical wires hanging and this junction box. And the question was how in the world are we going to deal with this, that the electricity will continue to flow in the whole house. And so it was this puzzle of the electricity has to flow and this junction boxes where it needs to flow. But if we do anything to this box, we're going to lose everything. And so our neighbor Dale and his brother Brian , they tried to investigate. Brian ended up having to crawl up into the attic and like 90 degree weather trying to crawl around to figure it all out. And it was such a puzzle trying to figure that out. But it was that thinking about how all of the electricity of the house flew through that one junction box and that one junction box reminds me of humanity because God's blessing flows through humanity. Humanity's like the junction box through which all of the blessing of, of, of God's goodness and God's delight and God's joy and God's desire to flourish life everywhere. He literally uses humanity as the flow. And because we are, we are the Royal sons and daughters.

Geoff:

We are the Royal family where the, where the family, where we participate in the family business and all of God's love flows through us. And so we're like that junction box, like you take humanity out of the picture and there is no more flowing of blessing, which is why Paul says in Romans eight that all creation is groaning now after the fall because that junction box is gone haywire and all of creation is kind of frustrated, short circuiting. But Paul says that in Christ, the sons and daughters will be revealed again. They'll, they'll in Christ they and all of Croatia will be renewed because God's a blessing. His original blessing will flow again. And this is why I just want to highlight one other thing from Genesis chapter one. Right after we're told that God created all of humanity in his image, he gives us this original blessing and he says, be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every little thing that moves or creeps upon the earth. I was like the little creeping things. It's like, Hey, they got a shout out in scripture. Even the little creeping things. So for spiders, I don't like spiders. We all know that. But you know there are [inaudible] just in a house. I don't like spiders in God's house because they're not fulfilling the purpose that got outside either . But I told this tolerate them. So all that to say his humanity was supposed to be free . They were blessed. Be fruitful and multiply, fill the earth, subdue it. But that doesn't mean conquer and abuse it, but it just means to flourish it so right to tend the life. So T like you were a gardener at our old house and you in one sense had to subdue the ground in order to have a flourishing garden. Yeah, because different, easy work. No , it's very hard. Especially when you cut grass away and you try to start again. Cause grass doesn't like to be cut away. It likes to come back no matter what. So you're constantly fighting against the grass that used to be there. And then every plant wants to grow differently and so you have to tend to the plant and give it what it needs to grow. And some plants need full sunlight, some need shade , some need to have a lot of open ground. Others like to grow in close spaces, some needs support to grow up, some need to just crawl along the ground. Every plant is different. And so dominion means supporting that plant in what it needs to flourish. And so sometimes you have people talking about dominion. And I mean I think we've come a long ways in a long years here and I don't, I don't think there's that many people who still think that dominion really does mean doing whatever you want. But if that's still your idea there is, it's not, it's, it's instead coming, coming alongside the plant the way that it's designed and flourishing, it giving it what it needs to be able to grow and to be able to be fruitful and to be able to multiply. And I think that holds true for humanity too , in flourishing. Life in other humans means respecting that those people

Cyd:

Are different from you and that what they need may be different than what you need in order to flourish and to grow. But that got intense for all of his creation to flourish. Not just the ones who are of a particular dominant group, but all of them. And so tending to people, tending to the plants, tending to the animals, paying attention to God's good design and then supporting and flourishing that design is giving life the family business. And if I had realized that when I was staying home with our baby, I would have realized that what I was doing was paying attention to God's good design in this little infant and doing everything I could to flourish the life as God intended, as well as flourishing my own life, and becoming sanctified in my own life. And being able to participate with my neighbor and doing all kinds of gardening and flourishing the plants around the house. And you know,

Geoff:

So if all good life ultimately comes from God, where you , we focus on God with us, that God has made us for his presence and that we receive and we ourselves flourish a life in God's presence. But we're also, the second part of being made in God's image is that we're supposed to extend that life. We're supposed to be conduits of that life, that life is supposed to through up flow through us. And so as much as we focus and talk about God with us, we also always want to remember that God is working through us, God with us and God through us. We're made for his presence, but we're also made to extend his blessing or his purposes in the world. And that's good news for all of us because sometimes you can feel like, Oh, my work doesn't matter, or I don't know what I'm doing. Well, the question we should be asking is not always necessarily do I feel great about this work because some work is boring. Frankly, changing diapers is boring, but if you're going to answer, but this is flourishing, someone's life, this life is being moved along, it's being moved and forward by this work and God has given me this work, then that's good work. Even if it doesn't feel like good work. And you worked in a factory, you know, and maybe you're like, how has that flourishing life? Did you ever think?

Cyd:

Yeah, well, but that , I did think that, but I was also, I also built a lot of really incredible relationships while working there and I was able to speak words of encouragement and hope and life to the people I was working with, even though the work we were doing didn't seem like it was really cool . You know, we're making drawer slides, but you've never thought about drawer slides until you've worked in a diversified factory. And then when you open a drawer you're like, Hm , this one really is nice. So I guess two , I was flourishing life. I was making people have less aggression while opening drawers.

Geoff:

Just think, how often do you have a sticky drawer in your kitchen? You can't get [inaudible] and then you're like, and then you go somewhere else in that George's slides right out . Or what about those drawers where they auto close or something?

Cyd:

The drawers . It was also about the people. Yeah. So amen. Okay. So I really wanted to read this quote and I don't know if it fits exactly.

Geoff:

All right . Well we're, I'm going to give you the land,

Cyd:

The plane. So why don't you plus you'd been reading these great books for as a , you're training for spiritual direction. You're reading all these great books. This is partly why I thought we'd be a great team on this podcast cause you're in the spiritual direction coaching world. I'm in like the Bible and theology world and we're both pastors. So that's why we're bringing this all together. So hit us up. Yeah, I loved this quote. It was it , it, it's sort of like God meeting us in the ordinary, which is what we want this whole podcast to be about. And so this is a quote by Barbara Brown Taylor. The child became a man. She speaking about Jesus. The child became a man and the man became a preacher whose sermons were full of commonplace things, seeds and nets, coins and fishes, lilies of the field and birds of the air wherever he was, he had a knack for looking around him and weaving what he saw into his sermons, whether it was sparrows for sale in the marketplace , laborers lining up for their pay or a woman glimpse through a doorway needing her family's bread. The kingdom of heaven is like this. He said over and over again comparing things they knew about with something they knew nothing about and all of the sudden what they knew had cracks in it cracks they had never noticed before, through which they glimpsed bright and sometimes frightening new realities. Every created thing was fraught with divine possibility. Wasn't that what he was telling them? Every ho hum detail of their days was a breadcrumb leading them into the presence of God if they would just pick up the trail and follow. And I love that idea of the ordinary everyday life that Jesus was constantly talking about as he was preaching his sermons. And telling stories and that God created, he created the world as a place of joy and, and invites us to tend and to flourish the life of that place as a place of joy. And that God is constantly meeting us in that everyday moments in the ordinary things and in our ordinary lives to remind us that we belong with him as his image bearers, as his idols, and to remind us that we always have a purpose to flourish, his life and to flourish his purposes in the world. And so in conclusion today, I just want to leave you with the question to reflect on of what would it feel like and how would it change your day today to know that God delights in you and in your work and in all the ways that you flourish , life in the world around you. To know that God delights in that, that it matters.

Geoff:

Amen. Thanks for that conclusion. And what's that book again to, so everybody can

Cyd:

This is a book called wherein God by Lauren winter and she quotes Barbara Brown Taylor in it. Excellent. That one's just for fun.

Geoff:

It's fun. Yeah. well thank you all for being a part of this episode and I just want to remind you all that the podcast site is on fireside FM. It's the God with us podcast and there will be instructions for joining the Slack channel where we'll actually be able to kind of talk or process more from this episode and other episodes. You can also subscribe on Spotify, iTunes, Stitcher, your Google player. I think Google play. We're gonna make sure we are on Google play and all those other places. So we're trying to be everywhere and eventually we'll even be on YouTube and like what? Nevermind. Okay. She'll, she'll tell me that cartoon. So we'll talk to you next time. And thank you so much for being part of these foundational episodes moving forward. Sydney , you're going to have some episodes where we're talking, but we're going to have different little mini series. We were just sketching this out on a car trip just yesterday. Mini series on parenting, on prayer, on suffering, on what to do with pain or where some of the other ones. Location, location. And so we're, we're going to have these mini series where we bring on two or three different guests at a time, talk with them about their experience of God with us in that particular kind of theme. And then Sydney are also going to offer our reflections is , so we're going to have all sorts of mini series, so we'd love to hear kind of what you would love to talk about going to the , we're going to do that. I'm an Enneagram three. We did talk about doing a whole Instagram series, but I don't know if that's gonna come out soon. But yes. So these are the things we're going to do. Yes. Yay. All right, we will talk to you all next time. So we want to end this episode by thanking everybody who joined our Kickstarter with an audio high. Five shout out . So we want to give you an audio shout out .

Cyd:

Yes, thank you so, so much. We couldn't have done this without you. And just having your support feels just really exciting because it means somebody will actually listen to us. So thank you to Merle and Brian and Matt. Deb, Mark, Natasha Thomas, Debbie, Megan, Mike, Roy, Kelly , Amanda, Joe , Laura, Ronnie , and Jonathan .

Geoff:

Thank you to Lenell , Phil, Jonathan , Robert, Gary is Jeff, and also another Jeff, the second one with the G poopoo to Jim Neil , Paul, Juliette , Amanda, Dave, Mike, and Jen. Margaret, Ron, Ashley, Tammy, Nick, and Jake. Thank you so much for supporting our Kickstarter. We couldn't have done this with out you. Yes.