"This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created. When the Lord God made the earth and the heavens-and no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no man to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground-the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being" (Genesis 2:4-7).
I love this story because it is about how it all began. It's the "once upon a time" part of God's great storyline. And I love it because it's the beginning of our story line. It reminds us of where we came from and helps us better understand the importance of our story.
And so, once upon a time . . .
(Begin working with the soil on the board)
God gathered together some dirt and began to shape it, like a potter takes a piece of clay and shapes it on the wheel. Early Jewish Rabbis' described it like this . . . God took dirt from the four corners of the earth so that wherever man goes, he can say, "I'm from here."
As God continues to tenderly work on his greatest creation, he begins to form the outline of a head, the torso, two arms, and two legs. Then the eyes appear the nose, the lips, and the ears. Each finger is lovingly shaped by the Creator, and every detail of his body is sculpted by the Almighty.
Soon the work is finished. And there lies God's greatest creation on the ground, made from the dust, every feature complete.
And God said, I will call him Adam which means man but this word is taken from the Hebrew word Adamah, which means ground.
It is as if God said, "He will be called Earthling because he is taken from the earth."
And he was beautiful, perfect in everyway . . .
But he is lifeless.
He can't stand or move or talk or sing or feel or think or remember. He can't do anything because he is simply a "dirt man", a lifeless creature with no value.
(Lift up board so the soil falls off)
But God's storyline of creation doesn't stop with this lifeless dirtman who has no lasting value . . .
God bends over and carefully and tenderly holds his head, as only a creator can. And then he breathes into his nostrils the "breath of life." - setting him apart from all other created things because the breath of God is symbolic of the Spirit of God.
Which means, the sprit of God himself brings life to this "dirtman".
The ancient Hebrews divided human life into three parts: body, soul and spirit.
- The body is physical flesh
- The soul is physical life.
- Both of which we share with other common animals
- But the Spirit is only possessed by man.
And when God breaths his spirit into Adam
Adam opens his eyes for the first time, looks around, stands up, and beholds the world God has made for him to nurture and care for. He sees a world that has been placed before him to make his mark. . . and it was good!
This is the storyline of creation . . . man gets his body from the earth; but his life comes from the breath (Spirit) of God.
But not only is it the story of the creation of man, it is our story because we too are "dirt men".
Because of the sin of man our storyline is this . . .
"from the dust we were formed and to dust we will one day return. "
Ashes to ashes . . . dust to dust
In a sense, all we are is "Dust in the wind." We live and then we die.
Dirt-Men and women . . . That's who we are!
(Begin putting dry dirt onto the board)
And as dirt men and women, we have no lasting value. Nothing we do as sons and daughters of the earth can stick. As dirt people we can't leave a lasting mark. We may be able to make smudges but as the things of earth pass away, so will the faint marks we leave in our short life time.
But our story does not have to end as a lifeless clod of dirt with no lasting value because God offers to us this same breath of life he gave to Adam through his son Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ said, "The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10
And he gave to us a new symbol of God's Spirit - water.
And with this water God gives to us richness to spring forth new life.
(Pour water into the dirt)
You see, when we invite Jesus into our lives, our stories become more than "from dust we came and to dust we return"
When we invite Jesus into our lives, we are given a new storyline; a storyline, that has a beautiful in-between. We are given a storyline that has the ability to leave an eternal mark in God's kingdom.
So, you who have the spirit of God within you, what mark will you leave?
And you who have not invited the spirit of God into your lives, come that God may give you new life.