Birthdays

“And she conceived and gave birth….”Genesis 4:1,
“And she gave birth…” Revelation 12:5

Musings: I am having a birthday this week. I’ve had a quite a few. Fortunately, they keep on happening.

It got me to thinking, what kind of fun, can I have, looking at the subject of birthdays, from scripture – and what kind of significance, that I haven’t already thought of, that I could I possibly stumble into? Since I love adventure, going off trail and love the impression of a new discovery, I went scripture hunting. Here is what I found…

Over 20 times I found this phrase in Scripture, from Genesis to the book of Revelation – … “and she gave birth”.

Now hold on, I know what you know; that women have babies. That the human race is made up of procreation and population, etc., etc. but wait, there’s more!

Add this obscure passage about life and humankind, that Paul uses as a polemic with a bunch of Greek philosophers, as he underscores his gospel presentation in the Areopagus of Athens…

So Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I observe that you are very religious in all respects. 23 For while I was passing through and examining the objects of your worship, I also found an altar with this inscription, ‘TO AN UNKNOWN GOD.’ Therefore what you worship in ignorance, this I proclaim to you. 24 The God who made the world and all things in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands; 25 nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things; 26 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God Acts 17:22-27

Do you see it? What do you think of “He made from one man, every nation…”? Also, this next observation really stuck out to me; “…having determined their appointed times and boundaries of their habitation”.

Slowly the birthday thing took on new meaning. Slowly I became not only appreciative that my years are appointed, but that my place in His-story is ordained – I have His prescribed “boundaries of habitation”; an allotted place of purpose to pursue.

Now, combine those thoughts with the two commissions, 1. Gen 1:28 and 2. Matthew 28 :18;20, and I sense a new intensity to make every day count, every effort serve the purposes of my stewardship and do it in a way that ensures I fulfill His commissions. That excites me, animates my drive and enthuses my commitment to God.

Now I realize each birthday is a marker of progress or procrastination toward the opportunities outlined above. This reinforces what I already believe, that my birth was not only not a cosmic accident nor just a natural outcome of two people in love. My birth had significance because God had a purpose for my life. How about that? Me, and you too!

God has a purpose for everyone who is born. Think not? Then listen to the words of Solomon… “The Lord has made everything for its own purpose, Even the wicked for the day of evil.”

Therefore, since these things are true, that even the wicked serve a purpose on the planet according to God’s ordination, how then shall we Christians live; today, tomorrow? What purposeful “days” after our birth and re-birth should we seek?

I don’t know how you answered the questions above, but I have decided that as I count off another year, this week, I will not focus on either the glories or failures of my past, but on the opportunities God has already ordained and has set before me. Specifically, for me, this entails an intent to pursue being a winsome and authentic witness for Jesus. Furthermore, I want to simply, but nobly, pursue authentic Christian manhood, the kind we looked at last month (1 Corinthians 16:13). As I do this, I hope to pursue, with greater fervor – loving God, providing focused, purposeful attention to my family, friends and neighbors while seeking to increase my success factors on the two commissions.

It looks like I have a lot to live for. And I do. So now I pray for us all, that God will fulfill our years with this yearning and the doing that completes it…

Happy Birthdays to us!