Finding our place

Luke Nelson

17 September 2020

How do you find your place in the world? How do you know who you are and where you fit and what you’re supposed to do with your life?

I don’t think we can begin to know until we know our Creator.
Knowing the One who made us helps us know what we were made for.

Psalm 8 gives us a glimpse into this – and I want to suggest it offers us two key principles that can orient our lives.

GOD IS BIG … AND GOOD

See how the Psalmist addresses God: O Lord, our Lord (v1) Those two uses of the word ‘Lord’ look the same in English, but in Hebrew they’re actually different. The second is Adonai, which means ruler or master or King; God is Lord of all things. The first is Yahweh, which means ‘I am; this is the name God used to introduce himself to Israel, and it emphasises the timelessness of God. He is always there, and always has been; he is the uncreated Creator, who made all things from nothing. God is big …

And yet he is not clumsy or overpowering! God’s strength is evident – and yet there is something subtle about it, too. In v1 the Psalmist describes God as ‘majestic’ and beautiful – as good. And so, the infinite heavens are the delicate ‘work of (his) fingers’, and his sets in place the immense stars (v3), like an artist carefully crafting his work. God doesn’t just create; he loves to create – because he is good.

WE ARE SMALL … BUT SIGNIFICANT

Whenever we look at the stars we are overwhelmed, and feel how small we are. And yet, remarkably, we are significant. God is, says the Psalmist, ‘mindful’ of us; he cares for us (v4). Indeed, he has ‘crowned’ us with glory and honour and given us dominion over the works of his hands (v6). This points to the dignity humans have; we are made in the image and likeness of God (Genesis 1:27) – because we have a divinely-appointed role; to rule and protect the world God has made.

Just think about the wonder of this. God made this wonderful, beautiful world – a world He laboured over painstakingly – and then he entrusted it to us! We are small, but significant.

God is big, and good.
We are small, but significant.

I think these principles are the key to finding and remembering our place in the world – and it’s imperative that we hold them together. Too often, humans elevate themselves, setting themselves up as rivals to God and trying to run this world the way we want to, not how he wants us to. That’s sin, and we engage in it every time we pursue our own glory rather than his.

Thankfully, though, God offers us forgiveness and recalibration. The big God came into this world to save it; Jesus died for our sins and rose again to give new life for under his rule.

In the work of Christ we see how all these things come together. The big God who made the stars is a good God, making himself nothing because we were still something to him. We are small, but still significant; ‘for God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16)

Luke Nelson

Luke is the Lead Pastor of City on a Hill Melbourne West. He joined City on a Hill in its early days, serving as the Community Pastor in Melbourne, before being asked to lead his own church plant. Having grown up in Melbourne's western suburbs, he has a deep knowledge of and passion for the area, and a great desire to see the gospel bring transformation. A gifted communicator, he loves the work of pastoring a church, opening God's word each week and seeing the Spirit work. Luke graduated with a BA (Hons) from Melbourne University, has a Grad Dip in Divinity from Ridley College, and is close to completing a Masters of Ministry. He is an ordained Anglican minister in the Diocese of Melbourne and an active member of the Acts 29.