By Beth Demme
When I teach Bible 100, I spend a lot of time on Genesis. I spend a disproportionate amount of time on this one book because it sets the foundation for the 65 books that follow.
Genesis can be controversial. It raises questions about literalism, science, history, timelines, miracles, and more.
I think I’ve allowed those bits to overshadow an important foundational principle from chapter one: the need to pause and enjoy my life.
The creation of the world is described in both Genesis 1 and 2. In both descriptions, we see how creation crescendos, each act building upon the one before it.
In chapter 1, each time God completes some part of creation, we are told: “God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:3, 10, 12, 18, 21, 25) After God creates humankind, the Bible says: “God saw all that he had made and it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31)
After seeing how good it all was, God paused.
We remember God’s pausing on the Sabbath. We are told in the Ten Commandments to remember the Sabbath and keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8) That command hearkens back to Creation:
Sabbath rest was not about God finishing a to-do list. It was about being satisfied with what he had created.
How often do I pause for a moment of satisfaction? Not often enough.
I think sometimes joy feels elusive precisely because I don’t pause and enjoy what I have created.
I tend to equate success with busyness. I measure success by how busy I am, how many projects I’ve completed, or how many things I’ve checked off my ever-present to-do list.
Thinking about Genesis and the Sabbath makes me think I need to rewrite my definition of success.
The expression, “a woman’s work is never done,” is true (for men and women). As long as I have breath in me I will have a to-do list. It won’t always be a mile long, but it will always be there. Since my work will never be done, it’s pretty silly of me to think I should wait until my work is done to enjoy it, right?
Maybe there’s a reason the Biblical story starts with a pause. Maybe the rest of my story will have more meaning if I pause now and begin to enjoy the pages that have been written so far.
What about you? Are you good at pausing to enjoy the fruits of your labor? Does joy sometimes feel elusive because you hear your to-do list calling? Will your work ever be done? Tell me about it in the comments, on Facebook, Twitter, or via e-mail.
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