“In the beginning, God created.”
You’ve heard that a thousand times, but let this truth sink in for just a moment. The first thing God reveals about Himself in Scripture is not that He is loving, holy, omnipotent, gracious, or just. No, the first thing God shows us at the genesis of time is that He is the Creator God!
For the first six days, God revealed His creative spirit by speaking stars, animals, and oceans into existence. Then, on the sixth day, He created man “in His own image” and commanded him to “fill the earth and subdue it.” This is more than just a call to reproduction. This is an explicit call to create, an invitation for humankind to reflect the image of the Creator God to the world!
A 2013 study by the Barna Group found that only one-third of American Christians “feel called to the work they currently do.” While few of us feel called to the jobs we’ve been given, almost all of us desire for our work to feel like a vocation. But how does that happen? How does our work become more than just a job—a true calling on our lives?
It starts with careful study of God’s Word. Many Christians don’t feel called to their work because they’ve bought into the centuries-old myth that there is some sort of hierarchy of callings in which the work of a pastor or “full-time missionary” is somehow more eternally significant than that of the entrepreneur, artist, janitor, or salesperson. The Bible could not debunk this myth more clearly. In perfect Eden, we see God calling Adam to do the work of a gardener and branding agent, two jobs we might be tempted to view as “secular” today. But this is God-ordained work and is thus inherently good and meaningful. We worship a God who creates and who calls us to create as a means of glorifying Him.
But even once we accept what the Bible has to say about the goodness and meaning of work, the fact remains that our work can only be a calling if Someone calls us to it and we work for their agenda rather than our own. What is our Caller’s agenda? Jesus summarized it so eloquently in Mark 12: Love God and love others.
For the past couple of years, I’ve been on a quest to discover stories of Christian entrepreneurs and creatives who have loved God and others well through their work, studying how viewing their creating as a calling from God changed their relation to their work. It’s the stories of these 40+ men and women that make up my book, Called to Create. Over the next few days, you will read stories from four of these creators: Casper ten Boom, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Arthur Guinness. I pray their stories, combined with the daily Scripture readings, will inspire you to embrace God’s call to create and encourage you on the path to creating for the glory of God and the good of others.
In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.Genesis 1:1
Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”Gen. 1:26-28
Now out of the ground the Lord God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all livestock and to the birds of the heavens and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper fit for him.Gen. 2:19-20
And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.Mark 12:28-34