My husband and I are working through Genesis over the next couple of months, and it’s really easy to just skim past the familiar story of creation. I’m not, though, and it has paid off. Even as I am reminded once again of the need to evaluate my concept of Sabbath rest, something else jumps out at me, taking that concept of rest a step further. A phrase is repeated in verses 12, 18, 21, and 25: and God saw that it was good. Then comes the first half of verse 31 which reads, “God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good.” (emphasis mine)
I tend to dash from one project to the next. I have to plan ahead to make sure everything falls into place perfectly because sometimes I have to start work on the next project before the current one is completed.
On the one hand, continually having a project going is not a bad thing. If I manage my time well, I really do have the ability to complete it all without major stress. I know my limits and I try very, very hard not to exceed them. I’m also learning not to push them, because something always pops up to slow down even the most efficient of plans!
The problem comes at the end when I have no opportunity to truly stop and evaluate each accomplishment. Now, only God reaches perfection with His accomplishments. When He saw that His work was good, He meant the good that, by definition, lacks any flaw. The good only He can accomplish. But His example of the Sabbath was for us. Could not His evaluation stand as an example to us as well?
Could we not ask ourselves a few questions about each task we accomplish?
Did I take the time throughout the project to evaluate progress as I went along? What changes can I make to pace myself so that I can evaluate and even enjoy the process more?
Did what I do glorify God? Are there changes I need to make to ensure that I always do glorify God with my work?
Did I let God accomplish the task through me, or did I complete it on my own strength? What adjustments do I need to make to ensure I draw on God’s strength instead of my own in the future?
Do the results reflect a job well done, regardless of its imperfections, or do they reflect haste and a lack of true commitment? What can I do to ensure that next time I truly pour my all into the project?
I’ve mentioned before that I have taken up knitting. I typically only knit here and there when I’m listening to one of the kids read aloud to me or when we sit down as a family to watch something together, but I’ve made steady progress both in learning and in creating. My first real project has been to knit a small doll blanket for my girls. I chose the variegated yarn containing their favorite colors, and they told me what stitch pattern they wanted. Slowly, steadily, the blanket is growing. Each time I pick it up or put it down, I can look at my progress. I feel the softness and wish I had a huge blanket like that to snuggle up under! I can also enjoy my daughters as they look on, ask questions about the pattern, and begin to practice the same pattern with their own needles and yarn. I get to be relaxed, yet productive. I get to teach and interact with my children. And I get to enjoy the fruits of my labor. That, to me, is the perfect picture of a successful task.
God not only rested at the end of six days of work, He took the time to evaluate, appreciate, and enjoy the fruit of His labor each step of the way. When I cram my life full to the brim, I have no time to truly contemplate my labor. I cannot evaluate it, nor can I enjoy it. When I force myself to be truly intentional about each and every commitment and task, however, things change. I can enjoy the process as well as the completed task. I have time to incorporate others into each task, creating disciples by teaching, training, working alongside, and drawing upon the wisdom of others. Then throughout the course of the work and when the task is completed, I can look back, evaluate, and even enjoy the fruits of my labor. No matter how many imperfections glare at me, I can look at it and call it good, knowing God worked through every single imperfect effort and His work is always good.