God's Open Hands


"Earth is drenched in God’s affectionate satisfaction." - Psalm 33:5, The Message
"The skies were made by God’s command; he breathed the word and the stars popped out. He scooped Sea into his jug, put Ocean in his keg.” - Psalm 33:6-7, The Message

Do you imagine God with a clenched hand or an open hand? Is the God you worship a giver or a taker?

For the past couple of years I have been soaking in the spirit of God’s generosity. What I have come to know, clearly, is that the God of the Bible is the God of the open hand. Psalm 145:16 says, God, "You open your hand and satisfy the desires of every living thing." The translation from Eugene Peterson's the Message is, "Generous to a fault, You lavish Your favor on all creatures." Not only do we as humans experience God’s extravagant generosity, but all living things, experience it.

God lavished beauty, complexity and grandeur in creating the world. Consider flowers. There are thousands of types, each with their distinct smell, look, and color. I am mesmerized by the intense colors and the abundant blooms that we witness through Spring and Summer; both by the flowers which grow wild, and the ones my neighbors plant. What extravagance! What overwhelming beauty! God of the open hand has poured out his blessing in creation.

I am overwhelmed by the grandeur of God’s creation. A thousand stars in the sky would be plenty. I can only keep track of a dozen or so by name. We can actually see about 5,000 stars with the naked eye. Surely that would be enough. But our galaxy has 400 billion stars! To think of it another way, there are 10 times as many stars as all the grains of sand on all the world’s beaches and in all the world’s deserts. God of the open hand lavished complexity and majesty in the creation of the universe and the earth.

Why such grandeur, such beauty, such intricacy in God’s creation? God says, "I made it for you to enjoy, to contemplate, to fire your imagination and to saturate your soul."

You and I become what we honor and worship. As we behold God as extravagantly generous, our hearts will bloom with greater generosity. Our churches will become baskets of generosity and beacons of hope.

I dream that Richland UMC will one day be known as the "generous church" in Athens. And why should we be generous? Because God has been outrageously generous with us!

Most Generous God, You lavish Your love, grace and mercy upon us each and every day. You take care of our every need, and you heal us of ailments, of body mind and spirit, when we ask. You are so generous, yet we often forget to thank You for Your extravagant generosity. Thank You Lord! Amen.
Mar 2 2018