A better view of generousity

As Lent’s been going on, I’ve been thinking about the classic Pauline division between motivation and application, between grace and obedience, between Romans 8 and [therefore] Romans 12. Maybe in today’s quest for relevance it’s easy to get the the balance out of perspective. Maybe my last post does that – straight to the application. So I’m thinking more about the generosity of God who we are encouraged to imitate:

Here’s John Ortberg on the theme of the nature of God in a study of Job :

Because God is a God of gratuitous goodness. And he is uncontrollably generous. He is irrationally loving. He is good for no reason at all. He is good just because he loves to give. He sends streams of living water flowing out of sheer exuberant generosity. There is a wilderness where no one lives, yet it is full of beauty and grace because God makes a river run through it. God delights in animals that are of no apparent use at all. The ostrich looks goofy and flaps her wings “joyfully” as if they could get her somewhere. She lays eggs and can’t even remember where she left the babies. She doesn’t seem to be worth much of an investment. But when she runs—oh my! “She laughs at horse and rider.” Why would God waste such talent?

“I made the behemoth,” God says—probably the hippopotamus. The creature is of no particular use: “Can anyone capture him when he is on the watch, With barbs can anyone pierce his nose?” The ancient world considered the hippo a chaotic monster that had to be destroyed—but not God. “He ranks first among the works of God.” It’s as if God is saying, “Best thing I ever did. I had my A’ game going the day I made the behemoth.”

God takes pleasure in wild oxen that will never plow; the wild donkey that will never be tamed; mountain goats that give birth in secret places man will never see; the leviathan that no one can catch. “Nothing on earth is his equal.”

God creates, cares for, gives to, and delights in animals that don’t appear to be good for anything. Why should God love a world like that? Anne Dillard writes, “Because the creator loves pizzazz.” He revels in the beauty of the least strategic creature. … What God is really telling Job is, “I’m worth it. Life, following me—it’s all worth it. Don’t give up. This pain is not going to last forever. I am the kind of God who is worth getting close to. “

That is because God is gratuitously good—and uncontrollably generous—and irrationally loving. He just gives for no reason at all. It’s his nature! “God loves pizzazz.”

Maybe I need more pizzazz.

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