When making the first home, God did not build, model, or manufacture. He did not assemble or construct. In the beginning, God created. Out of nothing, God made something—but not just any something. If something was His intention, He would have stopped when His design seemed efficient and serviceable. His brush would have splashed repetitive and dull onto the canvas, making that first home look sterile and uninspiring. For Creator God, the bare minimum was not the goal of His creativity. But then again, neither was beauty alone. He knew the first home would need both form and function.
Theologians point to the meticulous inventory of Genesis to prove that God’s Garden home was ordered and well-managed. It had purpose. But what they sometimes fail to mention is that it was also extravagant and enjoyable. It was pretty. From the melodious strains of the songbirds that served no real purpose other than to delight those who would hear them, to the galaxies flung so far they would never be known or seen by anyone but Him, God splurged when He made home. He decorated with all five senses in mind—touch, smell, sight, sound, and even taste. Never in the habit of good-enoughing, He included all His favorites, working until everything was good. Nothing was wasted or wasteful.
In Latin, create is translated creo, which means to beget or give birth. The Garden God created was not just a place for life but also for living. Later, when God placed humanity there, He charged Adam to “dress it” and “keep it” (Gen. 2:15 KJV). In other words, the new homemakers were to mimic the lavish creativity displayed by their Creator, nurturing a home atmosphere that would lead to life, a home that had both form and function. They were to make spaces that were purposeful, but also pretty.
Jesus obeyed this dress-it-and-keep-it charge when He walked the earth. He naturally reflected the creativity of Garden-like life, drawing humanity out of the dark and into the light in lavish and beautiful ways. As in Creator mode, Jesus gave His very best, sparing nothing. Granted, apart from His boyhood home, “the Son of Man [had] nowhere to lay his head” (Luke 9:58). For most of His adult life, Jesus was homeless. Nevertheless, Jesus showed us the way to shape a home atmosphere by decorating His days with the kind of creativity that would lead to life.
Leaving the comforts of heaven, Christ draped Himself in humility: “Who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross” (Phil. 2:6–8). He was born into obscurity and later died the agonizing and shameful death of a criminal. But even the cross doesn’t paint a completed picture of His humble posture. From His first day to His last, humility found its way into every crack and cranny of His life.
“Jesus never disappointed or left any hands empty. He provided.”
When the crowds rushed upon Him to declare Him as King, humility urged Him to refuse an earthly title of nobility (John 6:15). When He could’ve received the honor and credit due Him after the miraculous healing of a leper, humility demanded He maintain discretion and anonymity (Mark 1:44–45). When cultural custom dictated that someone wash the dung-covered feet of the weary-worn disciples, humility propelled Him to volunteer (John 13:1–7). Even now, as He sits at the right hand of the
Father, humility compels Him to identify with us—to call us His siblings (Heb. 2:11).
When Jesus wore humanity, He was open and available, giving His trusted disciples an intimate glimpse at both His trials and triumphs. Leading with vulnerability, He accessorized Himself with authenticity and welcomed His followers to do the same. As King of kings, Jesus didn’t have to let anyone in on His plans and kingdom work. Like most powerful leaders, He could have kept all His cards close to the chest, but He didn’t. He was honest about what would happen in this life and in the life to come—the future and forever home. “No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what the master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you,” He said ( John 15:15). Jesus clearly knew what psychologists are only now discovering: secrecy is one sure path to shame and isolation. He wanted something better for us. He wanted everyone to know Him and be fully known by Him so that we might form sincere relationships with Him and with each other.
Again and again, Jesus showed that He was not only Maker but Multiplier, pouring out the same something-from-nothing creativity displayed in the Garden. Throughout the New Testament, you’ll find examples of how He showed up in the middle of less and provided abundantly more. When no one else thought to pack a lunch, He multiplied some loaves. When water was all that was left, He provided wine. When the nets were empty, He filled them. When hands withered, He healed them. When death came knocking, He brought new life. Less became more. His power was made perfect right there in the middle of so much weakness.
At one point, He used the beauty of Creation to display God’s provisional care to weak and worn-out people: “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’” (Matt. 6:28–31). Jesus never disappointed or left any hands empty. He provided.
Jesus’ earthly responsibilities included many things: teaching, healing, modeling, discipling. But all these different mantles of ministry had one aim: to draw people toward growth—toward an abundant life in Him. He admonished their sin, releasing them from the bondage of slavery and separation. He encouraged people in their gifts, empowering them to act. He inspired them toward a shared vision, inviting them into service with Him. And He challenged them to outdo one another in their love for others, ensuring that His work would continue long after, “It is finished.” The atmosphere of growth He created guaranteed that the original purpose of the first Garden home—life—could be restored to continue forever.
The atmosphere Jesus created with His life was simple, never flashy, never overwhelming. It was basic but beautiful, purposeful and pretty. If you and I are to use our homes to help others feel more at home with Him, we must consider how to create inviting spaces of Christlike humility, authenticity, provision, and growth.
by Jamie Erickson
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