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.