Growing up in an evangelical heritage, the church I attended pushed the congregation to reach out to as many people in the community as possible to get them to turn their hearts to Jesus. And I have to say, it’s a very good hearted church with great intentions, just as I’m sure many other evangelical churches are.
But as I’ve gotten older, the evangelical heritage hasn’t sat well with me for a number of reasons. One reason is that it feels narrow sighted. Narrow sighted in the sense that we’re supposed to turn people to Jesus so that… we can just keep turning more and more people to Jesus? Granted, we’ll probably never convert everybody in our lifetime, but what if we could?
What comes next?
I haven’t gotten a satisfactory answer from the evangelical community, mostly because that idea of converting everybody is pretty much a never ending mission. It’s dominated my thoughts lately, and it’s struck me that maybe the answer is lying under our nose right at the beginning of the Bible in Genesis 1 and 2’s creation story.
The creation story is interesting because when we think about the talk that goes around it, we mostly talk about the scientific historicity around it. You’ve got folks who are all about young earth, folks who are all about old earth, and others who think the entire thing is allegorical and not literal.
But let’s set those aside for now, and let’s look at God.
Across the first six days, God creates one aspect of the universe, and after he creates it, he notes that his creation is good. Finally on the seventh day, God rests and makes the day holy, something that will have utmost importance in the coming Jewish community even through present day.
Let’s break that down even simpler. There are three basic actions:
- God creates
- God enjoys his creation
- God rests on the seventh day
If your mind isn’t blown like mine is about this discovery… check your pulse.
I think my theory is solidified most by that third point. As I said, the sacredness of that seventh day (aka the Sabbath) takes such a high level of importance in the Torah that many laws are enacted around it, even laws mandating death for the violation of the Sabbath.
Could it be that we lost the other two points to history?
Could it be that God gave us the answer for how to live life in those first chapters of the Bible?
Two things I want to highlight in here. First, notice that in God’s grand schema of a week, six of the seven days are dedicated to creation. I’m not at all suggesting we go back to a six-day workweek, but I am saying that there is definitely a stronger balance time wise toward being productive rather than lazy.
Second and on the flip side, I do want to call out that God makes the Sabbath holy. I call this out because there are some people who literally never take a break. To them, if you’re not dying, you’re not trying. As we already noted above, the Jewish community had laws intentionally against skipping out on rest. Admittedly, I don’t do a good job with honoring the Sabbath, and I am interested to learn more about the Sabbath from a Jewish audience. (Specifically, I’m in the middle of reading The Sabbath by Abraham Joshua Heschel.)
That’s it for this post. I know, it’s a short one, but it’s such a profound thought to me that I think it merits its own post. It’ll definitely weigh on my heart and mind over the next few weeks. I hope you found it to be fruitful, too.