Exploring The New World
Pastor Adam Mallett, Jr.
Adapted from sermon by
Pastor Gary DarDar, Jr.
When Noah and his family exited the ark, they had a huge task before them! Contrasted with Adam and Eve, the pressure was on for Noah and his family. Adam and Eve had to build civilization from scratch, not aware of the chaos and darkness that they would bring. Noah, however, had seen that chaos and darkness on the earth. He had experienced firsthand what human civilization could do. Whatever came next for humanity, it came from Noah. What an incredible thing to be faced with!
In hearing this message and meditating on what God spoke to me through it, one thing stood out as being most important. Out of all the things Noah had to establish in this new chapter of humanity, there was one thing that he could not neglect. God cherishes life! He is the source of all life, and He expects us to cherish it as well. If one thing could be blamed for the state of humanity before the flood, it must be that the people had not learned to cherish life the way God does. If humanity cherished life, there would be no murder, no slander, no neglect, no poverty, no racism. If humanity saw humans the way God does, things would be a lot different. My perspective of Noah’s monumental calling is that he must learn to cherish life, so that his family, his descendants, and all of humanity might catch that same godly heart.
God values everything that He created, but He values human life more than anything else. Why? Humans are animated by more than just biological life. When God created Adam, He breathed life into him. Rather than just shaping his physical form, God imparted His Ruach into Adam. That is the difference between humans and all other life! And that is why God loves us so much. We are His image bearers, His special creation. Our existence means more than the existence of the animals. Our existence is special to God. That is why He provisioned redemption for us! We must learn to understand what it means to cherish life the way God does. Of course, we are incapable of loving unconditionally, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t learn to follow God’s example of cherishing life.
Compassion is not my strong point. I know that to be a Christian is to be compassionate, but God is working that out in me as I continue to pursue Him and grow to be more like Him. It can be easy for us, especially those who do not have a whole lot of compassion, to think that we are cherishing life simply by not being a murderer. “Of course I cherish life! I put up with annoying people!” But cherishing is so much more than that! To cherish life means more than just to tolerate existence. It means more than a passive dealing with other humans. We must actively cherish, or it is not cherishing! This is something that I am really trying to work on in my own life! According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, to cherish something means to “hold dear, or show affection for.” It means to “keep or cultivate with care and affection.” To “harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely.” First things first: God cherishes us! God cultivates us with care and affection! He harbors us in His mind deeply and resolutely! He thinks about us, and pursues our well-being! That is an exciting and humbling thought! And that is precisely how He calls us to feel about all other humans. That is a tall order. There are some people whose personality doesn’t mesh well with mine, but I am still called to care deeply for them. I am still called to be resolved to cultivate their well-being. As much as I am able, I am to think about the good of others always!
We must show affection. It is not enough to just say that we cherish someone. We must demonstrate it. It must be visible to them, to others, and to God. Our actions must make clear our heart!
We must cultivate with care. What does that mean? To cultivate means to help something grow properly. How can we cherish someone in a way that helps them grow properly? Fertilizing, pruning, watering, etc. are all part of cultivating something. This means not only that we encourage and share happiness, but also that we admonish and instruct. Cherishing something takes more than just jaded positivity!
We must harbor in the mind deeply and resolutely. This means that we must think about people, which means that we must pray for people! You cannot truly cherish someone that you are not praying for. Pray that God would cultivate them. Pray that God would enable you to care for them, showing affection. Pray that they would learn to cherish others. We must harbor them in our minds, not capriciously, intermittently and half-heartedly, but deeply and consistently!
The Jews recited a prayer every single day, and it is this prayer that Jesus refers to as being the most important commandment. That prayer is called the Shemah, and we would do well to memorize it! In Deuteronomy 6, God gives the people what we now call the Shemah, but in Matthew 22:37-40, Jesus expands that understanding. “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” If Noah wanted to establish a new chapter of humanity, a successful chapter, he must get this right. After loving God, loving people is the most important thing! It is what we must get ahold of if we are to live the life God has called us to live. We must learn to truly cherish those God brings into our lives if we are to truly honor God!