(8)They heard the sound of the LORD God walking in the garden at the time of the evening breeze, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God among the trees of the garden. (9)But the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” (10)He said, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked; and I hid myself.” Genesis 3: 8-10 (NRSV)
The theme for this service, “Everyman in his place,” is a most interesting theme. This theme suggests, and I dare say, rightly suggests that every man has a proper place.
But, in order for a man to really be in his rightful place, he’s got to know just where his place really is. But, in order to know where one’s proper place is, he’s got to know God. A man has got to be in a right relationship with God in order to know his place and in order to be in his place.
Man was created for fellowship with God, but since the days of Adam, many men have been running from God. Man was created for fellowship with God, and to do the will of God.
God has called us to a life of purpose, but too many men are absent without leave. God has called man to a life of service, but too many of us are missing in action.
From the beginning of creation, it was God’s desire that man should be a steward over that which God created, which is everything. The word of God tells us, in Genesis, that after God had created the world and found that it was good, after God created man, God told the man to take dominion over the creation that God brought into being. In other words, God sent the man into the world, into the midst of God’s creation to be a steward over God’s creation.
Surely, it is no small task, no easy assignment to be a steward over that which God has created. It’s no easy thing to carefully and diligently look after that which the master has made, and the Lord knows this. But, be ever mindful that God would not call us to this great work and then not equip us with what we need.
Notice, if you will, that after God had created man, he breathed his holy breath, his holy spirit into the man. You see, before that, the man was little more than a machine. He was little more than a mannequin in a department store window. But, when God breathed into the man, the word says, he then became a living being.
Without God’s spirit, man might look good on the outside, but he’ll have nothing on the inside to help him to do any good. Without God’s spirit, we might be dressed up real fine on the outside, but we’ll be all broken up on the inside.
Unless a man is open to the spirit of God, he can in no wise make any real difference in the world around him. Without the spirit of God, men might take note of the troubles all around him, but without God’s spirit, he will always be a victim, but never a victor.
Without the spirit of the Lord, men aren’t really alive; they are just going through the motions of living; working nine to five, but not really alive. Unless the spirit of God is invited and welcomed into the lives of men, their living will be in vein and the world will suffer.
When God created man, when God breathed the breath of life into that human shaped dust, it was the desire of God that man would be a steward over that which God has made.
Sad, but true, from the beginning of time, men have often failed to live up to who God has called us to be.
God created and called Adam to a purpose, and it was to work for God, tending to that which God had created. But, from the beginning, starting with Adam, men have too often failed to live up to whom God has called us to be.
Too often, men have become dominated by that which he was to take dominion and control of. In the beginning, God called us to a high standard of living, but far too often, men have wallowed in the low land of aimless living.
Therefore, the world has suffered greatly. When men fail to be who God called them to be, women are unable to be all that they can be. When men fail to be who God called and created them to be, children can never fully be all that they could be and should be. It’s a sad state of affairs when men fail to live in accordance with the desires of God.
But, I’ve come to realize that seldom do men walk in open rebellion to the design of God. Seldom do men wake up in the morning and just decide to be good for nothing hell-raisers. Seldom do men just wake up one day and decide to turn their backs on their family, their church, their community and their world.
I’ve come to realize that sometimes, brothers are suffering from an identity crisis. It could very well be that men have forgotten, or perhaps were never really aware of whose we are, who we are and what it is we’ve been called and created to do.
Sometime, men who are suffering from an identity crisis don’t realize the power that they have. Therefore, they see burdens, and they refuse to bear them for fear of failure. Sometime, men see obstacles in their way, but not realizing the power of God that is available, they fail to overcome obstacles. Instead, they give in and are overcome by the obstacles in their lives.
Rarely do we just simply turn our backs on God and the will of God. So often, we men are suffering from an identity crisis. We fail to realize that we are more than the mistakes of our past. We fail to realize that with the spirit of God, the wrong that we have done is far less important than who we can become in the hands of God.
When men suffer from a spiritual identity crisis, they fail to rise above the temptations and trials of life. They become prisoners of their own passion. They become paralyzed by problems and immobilized by molehills that look like mountains. Instead of conquerors, we become quitters apart from the spirit of God in our lives.
We are not called to be dominated by stuff, things and people that did not create us or redeem us. It was never God’s intention for men to be held in bondage by substance abuse, abusive work schedules, unrelenting debt and low expectations.
God made us to be over these things. God made us to be in control over all these things that have taken control over our lives and taken control over our families, our homes, our cities and our nation. Oh man of God, stand up and be who God created you to be! Stand up and be who God has called you to be! Stand up and be who God expects you to be!
If we fail, our children will fail. If we fail, our wives, our
sisters, our brothers, our fathers, our mothers will fail, if
Oh, see what shape the world fell into because Adam failed. Look around and see the rough shape our families, our churches, our communities and our nation is in because men have too often failed to be who God created us to be and called us to be.
There is no denying the fact that few of us, if any of us, have lived up to the standard that God has created us for and called us to; and, the devastating effects of this failure are all around us. Nevertheless, that’s not all there is to the story. That’s not how this human story has to end.
We have often failed, but God hasn’t given up on us yet. We have often let God down, but the Lord is still counting on us. We have often given into that which we could have and should have overcome, yet, the Lord our God has not given up on us.
God is looking for a man who may be down, but refuses to stay down. God is looking for a man who may have made some mistakes, but who understands that God is bigger than all of their mistakes.
God is looking for a man, sinful, fearful, broken though he may be, because it is such a man, that has encountered the grace of God that is able to reach other sinful, fearful and broken men.
God is looking for a man who once was blind but had his eyes opened by Jesus, so that he can help somebody who is still stumbling around blindly through life.
God is searching, God is looking for a man who once was lost, but then found Jesus, to go on out into a lost community, a lost city and a lost world to tell somebody that Jesus Christ is the way.
God is looking for a man who has been wounded on this journey of life, who has now been made whole by the love of Christ. God is looking for this once wounded, but now whole brother, to go to other broken men, broken women, broken children and declare that there is a balm in Gilead to make the wounded whole again.
God is not through with us yet. Though we are not perfect, there is a purpose to which we have been called.
The Lord who sits high and looks low, he sees a world in trouble deep. The Lord who sits high and looks low, he sees some little girl who needs a daddy and not just a donor. There is some little boy who needs a papa and not just a child support check.
This old world that God so loves, this world that God loved enough to send his very son is standing in the need of some holy help, some committed men, some dedicated brothers. And, I can still hear God asking, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us?”
Who will go wherever there is a need for love? Who will go wherever there is a need for some compassion? Who will go wherever there is a need for some peace? Who will go for the Lord, and whom shall he send?
Is there somebody who will stand up and declare, “Here am I Lord, send me. I ain’t got much Lord, but here am I send me. I don’t have any political power and I don’t have a great empire, but here am I Lord, send me. I don’t have much money and I don’t have a whole lot of education. But, here am I Lord, send me!
I’ll go where you lead me. I’ll go where you need me. I’ll go! I’ll go! I’ll go. Here am I Lord, a man, created in your image, sustained by your grace and kept by your mercy. Here am I, send me! Send me! Send me!
© Clarence W. Davis 2005, Used by permission BlackandChristian.com
Rev. Clarence W. Davis is the pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Churchin Colorado Springs, Colorado. A frequent contributor to BlackandChristian.com, Davis earned a Master of Divinity and Master of Theology degrees from Harvard Divinity School.