Our first job was to rest

Siesta Now In Progress, by quicksandala, from morguefile.com
Siesta Now In Progress, by quicksandala, from morguefile.com

So God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them; male and female he created them…. And evening passed, and morning came, marking the sixth day. So the creation of the heavens and the earth and everything in them was completed. On the seventh day God had completed his work of creation, so he rested from all his work. (Genesis 1:27, 31, 2:1-2)

Whether we believe in a literal seven 24-hour days of creation or not, we can agree that the story of the Creation tells us important things about ourselves and about God. Typically, these verses are an argument for us to take a day of rest after we’ve completed our work.

But here’s the thing: we are not God.

God is God and we are part of the Creation.

God worked for six days and then rested. We were created, and then our first day was a blessed day of rest. Humanity’s first task was to enjoy this new creation. To explore. Perhaps to stroll with the Lord in the Garden. To commune with our Creator. Our first experience was of community, of people together who are together with God.

Our first job was to rest.

He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams.
He renews my strength. (Psalm 23:2-3)

God repeatedly promises rest (and its good friend, peace).

The Lord replied, “I will personally go with you, Moses, and I will give you rest… (Exodus 33:14)

Then Jesus said, “Let’s go off by ourselves to a quiet place and rest awhile.” (Mark 6:31)

You will live in joy and peace.
    The mountains and hills will burst into song,
    and the trees of the field will clap their hands! (Isaiah 55:12)

Then Jesus said, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30)

So let’s put a pause on all our striving and rest, enjoy, commune, connect — with each other, and with the Lord. Rest was, after all, our first job.

Acts of Creation: A Devotional

An image of a person kneading and pulling at bread dough.Then God looked over all he had made, and he saw that it was excellent in every way. (Genesis 1:31)

The beginning of a new year is a good time to look at the beginning of everything, when there was “a formless mass cloaked in darkness” (Gen. 1:2) and, out of that, God created our world and made men and women in His image. However it happened, God had His creative hand in everything from massive hulking mountains to delicate designs etched inside seedpods to the complex system that is a human being.

God said the same thing about each thing: It is good. Until the moment when He looked back on it all and He said it was excellent in every way.

Excellent here doesn’t mean perfect, flawless, or the best of its kind. It doesn’t mean that each thing met a high artistic standard. It doesn’t mean each thing was a model of efficiency. It doesn’t mean someone else with more authority or knowledge looked at each thing and approved of it. Those are things we mean by excellent.

I think it’s something more basic: both the work of creation and the things He created gave God a deep sense of satisfaction, of rightness. Of joy. And because we are made in the image of a Creator God, satisfaction, rightness, and joy are available to us when we create.

Creative acts don’t only belong to what we call “the arts.” Even if we don’t ever do anything someone else would call “artistic,” we create our lives.

Thinking differently than the culture you grew up in or that you live in now is a creative act. Making an unexpected connection between things that seem unrelated is a creative act. Trying something new to you is a creative act. Finding a solution to a problem is a creative act. Working out how to be a follower of God is a creative act.

They’re creative acts because they require imagination. Any time you can imagine yourself and your life as different than they are at this moment, that’s profoundly creative – an image-of-God act.

So create a life that’s satisfying, right, and joyful. It may not look like the lives your family members or childhood friends build. It may not be approved of by everyone you know. At times, it may feel like a formless mass cloaked in darkness. But follow God’s creative spark and it can be excellent in every way.