Nick Poindexter

My style's like a chemical spill

Tag: Genesis

Entertaining Angels

Keep on loving each other as brothers and sisters. Don’t forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
-Hebrews 13:1-2 (NLT)

The author of Hebrews closes out the book by addressing his readers to continue to love each other, as they’ve been doing. It’s a “Good job, keep it up” kind of statement.

But he follows that by saying we must not forget to also extend love beyond those we already know. The author says to love strangers as well. Why? Because they might be angels.

This command is a direct reference to the story of both Abraham and Lot’s unexpected visitors from Genesis 18-19. In that passage, both men immediately open their homes to these guests, who were in fact, angels. In their day, this was Godly generosity in action. Travelers had to sleep overnight in obscure towns, so inviting someone in to stay you didn’t know not only showed hospitality, but it also pointed them directly toward your God. Also, in the context of Hebrews, many early Christians were being persecuted and were on the run. They needed hospitality from strangers more than ever!

Although foreign travelers may not be often knocking on your doors looking for food and shelter, there are people right under your nose today who need welcoming. Maybe it’s the co-worker or classmate you’ve never spoken to. Maybe it’s the visitor to your church who looks uncomfortable on the back row. Or maybe it’s that person who the opposite of you in every way, and because of that you’ve turned down every chance to get to know them personally.

We are being challenged here to be as hospitable to strangers as we are to acquaintances… To view outsiders the same as insiders… To love those that are different from us as much as we love those who are the same as us… To meet the needs of everyone whom God puts in our path.

Who knows? Maybe you too will be entertaining angels without realizing it.

Made To Serve

Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”
-Genesis 1:28 (NLT)

In Day 6 of the Creation Story, God made the animals, followed by human beings. He then basically tells Adam and Eve to prosper and take charge of the earth. Or, in a single word, God tells them to serve.

I’ve never really thought about it before, but these are God’s first words to the humans, the most-special thing he’s ever created. Adam and Eve are different from everything else. They are unique because they have the ability to bear God’s image. He could have told them anything from the get-go, but he chose to tell them that service is the main function of human life.

In other words, we were made to serve.

As a minister, I can think of multiple times that I’ve been speaking to someone, asking them if they would consider serving in the church in some capacity. The funny thing is, whether it’s about our children, youth, worship services, or sports ministries, the #1 reason I get turned down is because the person is “too busy” or “doesn’t have time”.

Now, I’m not saying that everyone should say yes when asked to help. Some people serve way beyond what is expected of them and need to turn down offers from time to time for their sanity. Church burnout is way too prevalent because of that.

But what I am wondering is if everyone that says no makes that decision because they are already serving. Is service already their top priority, or is something else just in its place, giving them the illusion of not having enough time?

You see, service to others wasn’t meant to be an add-on or something we squeeze into our already-packed lives. It is supposed to be first and foremost in our lives, because God entrusted us with the responsibility first and foremost. And that means that what’s important to us just might need some rearranging.

Serve God by serving the earth. It’s what we’re made to do.

A Priceless Masterpiece

Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
-Genesis 1:26 (NIV)

The most expensive painting over sold is one called No. 5, 1948 by the American abstract expressionist Jackson Pollock. In 2006, the painting sold at auction for a whopping $140 million.

What makes it even more unbelievable is that the painting looks like nothing more than a bunch of layers of splattered paint. To most people, it looks like something a 5-year-old could have made. It’s messy. It’s random. It’s arguably even ugly. Yet it is worth $140 million.

It’s important to know, however, that Jackson Pollock was a very influential American painter as well as a major leader in the abstract expressionist movement. No. 5, 1948 is not worth millions of dollars because of the painting per se, but rather it is insanely valuable because of who the creator is.

In Genesis 1:26, God makes a note that of all his creation, there is something special about those humans. We are described as being created in his image. Does that mean God physically looks like a human? No, I think he’s after the idea that we are created as an expression of his love and made to show his characteristics… Traits like forgiveness, patience, faithfulness and even creativity. Just like all art reflects the world from the artist’s viewpoint, we are made to reflect the world from God’s viewpoint.

Being made in God’s image also gives every human being a limitless self-worth. A piece of artwork is ultimately valuable because it can never be duplicated, so we too are one of a kind – a priceless masterpiece in the eyes of our Maker.

Just like No. 5, 1948, you and I are insanely valuable because of who our Creator is.

Walk The Walk

When Enoch was sixty-five years old, he had Methuselah. Enoch walked steadily with God. After he had Methuselah, he lived another 300 years, having more sons and daughters. Enoch lived a total of 365 years.

Enoch walked steadily with God. And then one day he was simply gone: God took him.
-Genesis 5:21-24 (MSG)

Enoch’s short mentioning in this genealogy listing is interesting. Verse after verse, the wording verbatim is, “When _____ was __ years old, he had _____. After he had _____, he lived another __ years, having more sons and daughters. _____ lived a total of __ years. And he died.”

Not the most exciting read, but OK. But when we come to a guy named Enoch, Moses (the author of Genesis) recorded that Enoch walked with God. And then, God just took him directly to Heaven. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200. Just go to Heaven. Wow.

What an incredible life this man must have lived to leave an impression like that on Moses. Enoch was so close to God, so in love with him, that he literally was following his every move. In other words, Enoch really did “walk the walk.” And God apparently was so enamored with this man’s life that he simply took him home, bypassing the death that we all deserve.

I too hope that one day others will look back on my life and say “Nick walked steadily with God.” What an honor.

My Filet Mignon

Time passed. Cain brought an offering to God from the produce of his farm. Abel also brought an offering, but from the firstborn animals of his herd, choice cuts of meat. God liked Abel and his offering, but Cain and his offering didn’t get his approval. Cain lost his temper and went into a sulk.
-Genesis 4:3-5 (MSG)

A rather simple story: Two men bring an offering to God. One man, Cain, brings some of his produce. The other, Abel, brings the best meat he has. God likes what Abel gives; not so much what Cain gives. So it begs the question: What’s the difference between the two offerings?

I think it comes down to one word: sacrifice. Did Cain give God an offering when he could have given nothing at all? Sure. But did he give God the best of what he had like his brother Abel did? Nope, apparently not. In the end, Cain’s produce might have even been more valuable monetarily than Abel’s meat. But the value amount didn’t matter to God; the sacrifice amount did.

I’ve heard this story used a lot when talking about tithing, which makes sense. But I think it goes so far beyond that. As a Christian, am I giving God just enough to get by, or am I giving him my best in everything? My best in finances, time, and talents?

That relates specifically to my goal of reading through the Bible as well. I can just do it to do it, giving God a little bit of my time and completing the task only to get the monkey off my back. Or, I can do it with a heart like Abel’s, knowing that the sacrifice of giving my best is part of the offering, possibly more important than the offering itself.

God, here’s my filet mignon.

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