I gave the closing devotion for the 2014 Kansas District Pastor’s Conference. Here is the meditation I shared.
Then the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.
No doubt as you head home from this conference, as is the case with most conferences, there is a renewed energy inside of you; a vitality that is ready and eager to accomplish the many tasks that await you. And after two days soaked in the theme of Renewal in Wellness, in which we have renewed ourselves in worship, renewed ourselves in study, and renewed ourselves in play; there may even be an extra skip in your step when you return to your homes this evening, and to your studies tomorrow morning.
And then it will hit you; not tonight, and maybe not even tomorrow, but definitely by Monday morning, you will notice that the work is not done. There are sermons to write, projects that demand attention, visits to make, and meetings to attend. And you will notice that this is not just the Monday blues, for it rolls into Tuesday, and Wednesday, and beyond. There is no end to the demands for things that need to be done, and the stark realization that there are only so many hours in the day, so many days in a week, so many weeks in a year.
And in the middle of it all, is the comparison, that God did not create it this way. God gives Adam the command to work and care for the Garden, but it was never meant to be this difficult. Adam was not to sweat out deadlines; not to sit in meetings discussing meticulous details; nor was he to look at a project begun, and say to himself: maybe next year.
God created the heavens and the earth in 6 days, stepped back and declared it to be good, and then had a day to rest.
The old Adam in us has not been charged with recreating the heavens and the earth, with time left to spare; but many a week may feel such a way; such a way that the mind, the body, and the spirit are left trampled and beaten down, with little left but to look at the ‘to do’ list and wonder how it might all get done in time.
It was in working on one of my own projects that I was led to the Septuagint for research, and made a most curious discovery. Our text from Genesis 2, in which God finishes the work of creation, contains the Greek word: συνετέλεσεν for the word ‘finished’. A little more research rendered that this word had the same root as τετέλεσται, the word for ‘finished’ that Jesus speaks from the cross.
Amazing to see that the word describing the completion of creation in Genesis 2, is the word uttered by Jesus from the cross in St. John 19.
As soon as the work of creation is done, and God sees that it is finished, we are immediately reminded that the work of the cross is not far behind.
But of course, the work of the cross is never far behind. The certainty of the work of salvation is always there, always reminding us that whether the work and projects we have waiting for us are done or not, the work of the cross is already done, already finished. That Bible study that is not completely thought through, still opens the Word of the Lord to those gathered to study; that unpolished sermon still reaches the hearts of those who need to hear it; that hastily composed prayer still brings comfort to those who are hurting.
It is finished, not because of anything that you have done, but because of what Christ has done for you. Take comfort in this; find your daily renewal in body, mind and spirit, in the assurance and confidence that it is finished.
In the Name of Jesus! AMEN!