As we embark on yet another new year, Psalm 8 helps to remind us of who we are and the possibilities that exist for the future. This little psalm grounds us in reality by dealing with the ultimate questions of our existence: Who am I? Why do I exist? What is the purpose of my life?
Living on such a big planet actually makes some people feel quite small and wondering how they fit in. With such a large universe we may ask along with psalmist, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” This question forms the center of the psalm. Hebrew poetry is typically set up to have the front and the end of the poem point to the middle as its main focus. That is, the psalmist purposely wrote this psalm so we would consider this great question of what God thinks of humanity within the scope of this very large universe.
Out of the billions of galaxies in the universe, what is the planet Earth that God should care about it? On our planet there are billions of creatures. Yet out of all of those bugs, animals, fish, and birds, God has a special relationship with us, humanity, and cares for us deeply. We know that God cares for us, according to this psalm, because he has entrusted us with the responsibility to care for creation. We are the only creatures who have the charge to steward all that God has created. To put it another way, we, as people created in the image of God, have a job that is befitting of a king, and it is not just a duty for us, but a delight.
Only we as people have the self-awareness and perspective of the world that is needed to govern the world. So, then, we can only find our true purpose and belonging in the stewardship of creation. Caregiving is actually at the heart of being a person.
So, in this next year we have the possibilities of engaging in good stewardship of all that God has given us. We have the opportunity to use our words in ways that care for others and build them up, rather than saying uncaring things that are not helpful. We have the chance to be attentive to all the little things of life, whether gardening, building a bird house, working with diligence and care at our jobs, or keeping our community clean and its citizens healthy and happy, it is all important and has a significant place in God’s wondrous world.
Let us, then, continually improve what we do, no matter what it is, so that it befits us as God’s people crowned with honor. May this year be one of joy and contentment in knowing the majesty that you share with God as a human being in his wondrous world.