A few years ago I was invited to a private reception at the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. It was a delightful but surreal experience mingling with the greatest athletes to ever play the game, especially because I did not know who most of them were. The other guests were intimately connected to Major League Baseball or at least immersed in the game’s history. But not me. I’m not a baseball fan. As the son of an immigrant, I did not grow up playing or watching America’s pastime. So, why was I there? It turns out my wife’s great-great-grandfather was one of the early superstars of professional baseball, and our whole family was invited in his honor.
Entering into a relationship with Jesus is a bit like being invited to someone else’s party; one that started long before you showed up. Some people mistakenly believe that before creating the world God was lonely, like a party host with no guests. So, God made people in order to have someone to love ‒ objects for His affection and guests for His celebration. This view implies that God created us to fill some deficiency in His love or incompleteness in His being. This is silly, of course.
The Scriptures reveal a very different picture ‒ an eternal, divine party of unimaginable love and joy that existed long before humans arrived on the scene. Although it is hard to grasp, the Bible speaks of God living in relationship with Himself. He is a community; a party of Three and yet eternally One. Scripture gives us a stunning, and admittedly mind-twisting vision of one God eternally existing in three persons ‒ God the Father, God the Son and God the Spirit. A full exploration of the doctrine of the Trinity is more than we can do in this devotional, but it is so foundational to our understanding of the Christian life that we cannot ignore it either.
The Christian belief in the Trinity means that God did not need to create us in order to express or receive love. Instead, He created us ‒ and all things ‒ from the overflow of the love shared between the Father, Son and Spirit. This is what separates the Christian vision of God from all others. We believe that relationship is central to God’s being and central to our life with Him, and that has important implications for how we see ourselves and the source of our generosity.
If God did not create us because He needed to be loved or worshiped, then we can only conclude God created and redeemed us because He wanted us to share in the love that has been enjoyed between Father, Son and Spirit since before the world began. This helps us understand Jesus’ prayer: “Just as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You, [I ask] that they also may be in Us” (John 17:21). Jesus invites us to share in the life and love of the Trinity. He wants us to join God’s party and live in perpetual communion with Him.
Just as God created us from the overflow of love experienced within the Trinity, our generosity is also to be the overflow of the love experienced in our relationship with God.
Reflect: In the past, would you say your acts of generosity were rooted more in a sense of obligation or in the overflow of your relationship with God?
(Excerpt from Whole-Life Generosity Devotional, used with permission from GenerousChurch).