Genesis 1 is the great Creation narrative.  God subdues and orders chaos with only a word.  Space is created where life can be sustained and blessed by its Creator.  For six days God creates “space” and fills it with every living creature.  On the sixth day, humanity is created, crowning the Creation of God’s delight.  On the seventh day God rests and separates that day by making it holy.

There is much that can be said concerning those first six days of Creation.  Yet, the first thing that humanity sees God “doing” is not creating but resting.  If we are truly created in the imago Dei, image of God, this might be an important thing to note.  God definitely creates us to be laborers within the creation (tilling the soil).  Yet, God does not define God’s self by the accomplishment of tasks.

Our world is one that typically values people in terms of production.  How useful we are to another’s agenda or how we benefit the “bottom line” is employed to determine our “worth.”  This business-model mentality has seeped into the Church.  Pastors are expected to make their churches “grow.”  Success is determined by how many people were “saved” or “sanctified.”  Sometimes it can almost feel like the pastor is being paraded around like a show dog in front of the judges.  It’s a lot of expectations to fill.

The culture is not entirely at fault.  Pastors quite often want to see numerical and spiritual growth.  Those are necessarily bad things.  But, we can become very easily depressed if the church does not measure up to our expectations or if it falls far short of our hopes.  We hang our heads; we mope and worry.  If we have placed our “worth” and “value” in terms of the business-model’s idea of success, we will often be severely disappointed.

Is God’s assessment of us the same as the business-model?  Are we only of use to God in terms of our productivity?  Is God’s favor derivative of our work?  Refer back to the first account of Creation.  God creates humanity on the sixth day.  Even before we have managed to do one productive thing, God blesses us along with all of Creation.  We can’t discount that God calls us to labor in the Garden, but we were created for so much more than cheap labor.  After all, God creates everything in only a word… there does not seem to be a pressing need for our productivity to get things accomplished.

The seventh day is the Sabbath, set apart and made holy.  The invitation to rest is given to humanity even before it has been “productive.”  This day of rest points humanity towards what is God’s deepest desire: relationship.  God is not a cruel and harsh task-master, ready to make sure we meet our quota.  Does God invite our participation in caring for Creation?  Yes.  We are called to govern over it, but even this is done in relation to God!  Yet, our “value” is found in our connection with God alone!

Pastors are stilled called today to “till the soil” and prepare the seed in the lives of people to whom we minister.  It is a wonderful, joyous calling.  However, our primary goal is not the accomplishment of tasks, productivity for bottom lines, or business-model value systems of evaluating ourselves and others.  Rather, we have the wonderful opportunity to “rest” in the presence of God and invite others to do the same.  In a world that pushes all of us to find our value in what we do rather than who we are, pastors have an important and challenging task.  We must be careful not to get wrapped up in a system that causes us to place our worth in terms of our “success.”  And, we must hold up this same vision for our congregation.  Find your value in whose you are as God’s child and “good” creation!

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