Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
So God created humankind in his image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them. (Genesis 1:26-27 NRSV)
What does it mean to be created in God’s image? What does being made in God’s likeness have to do with being generous?
While donors have their own personal reasons for giving, there are some common themes:
- A young couple eagerly participates in a Habitat build once a month: “We wanted to give back.”
- A successful businesswoman talks about a major gift to her church: “I’m paying it forward.”
- A skilled and committed teacher explains why he works hard, more than fifty hours every week with middle schoolers: “I wanted to respond to the blessings I received.”
The writer of 1 John put it clearly, “We love because God first loved us” (4:19 CEB). In keeping with that sentiment, the first chapter of Genesis would suggest that we give because God first gave to us.
To be human, made in God’s image, is a wonderfully positive identity! However, to be made to love and give like God seems counter to the chronic cynicism of our society and even sometimes our own self-image. But this is how the Bible begins: “In the beginning God …” and within the first chapter, “Let us make humankind in our image …” (Genesis 1:1, 26 NET).
All creation is given. Light, water, air, and land. The birds and fish and animals. The seas and mountains, valleys and rivers. Our bodies and minds, hearts and souls. They are all a Divine Gift.
And in some mysterious way, we were put here to tend and care for this incredible world, made in the image of God. We give because God first gave to us.
~Franklin “Zip” Long
When you look in the mirror, can you say, “I am born in the image of God, created to be loving and generous”? What are the greatest gifts in your life? What abilities, talents, relationships, and accomplishments have come your way?
Place a sticky note on your mirror and every morning say to yourself, “I am born in the image of God, created to be loving and generous.”