By Christy Lee, Children's Director
Like many of you, due to the Shelter In Place, I’ve been spending a lot of time tending to things around the house these days. The vast majority of my free time entails cooking new recipes or trying to perfect old Korean dishes, trying to grow vegetables in our balcony “garden”, organizing our home to be more simple and aesthetically pleasing, or building curriculum for my students at school and at church. Oh, and there’s also a game on Nintendo called “Animal Crossing” to which I’ve been sacrificing too much of my precious sleep time. If you haven’t heard of it, you basically create a virtual character to build a house and eventually a city by “working” and earning money. It’s not really eventful, and actually a lot like the grind of real life, but strangely extremely addicting.
Most of the things I’ve mentioned are “chores”, things on my daily list that I usually dread doing especially during a busy work week. But now that things have slowed down, I realized how much I actually enjoy the seemingly mundane activities of cooking, cleaning, and planning. When I stopped to think about why this is the case, I realized it’s because all of these things are actually acts of creating. Now, I’ve never been to be the most creative person among my friends (I can’t draw, paint, sew, or anything of the sort). But there’s something so satisfying about a job well done, whether that looks like a perfectly risen loaf of bread or a beautiful bunch of homegrown lettuce.
This is because God has created us in his image, also known as the imago dei. In Genesis 1, we see God creating the heavens and the earth, and in Genesis 2, God created man. God formed man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. He then placed this man into the garden which he created, then told him to “work it and keep it” (v. 15). In other words, God created man to be the tender of his creation-- to “work” his land, imaging God to be creative and to make his kingdom flourish.
Now of course, the story continues in Genesis 3 where Adam fails to “image” God in this way, letting sin enter into the world and cursing it. Work became difficult because creation was cursed. But Romans 5:17 tells us: “For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” In other words, where the first “Adam” failed, the last “Adam” (Jesus) came to restore what was broken, fulfilling the cultural mandate that was given in Genesis 2. Through Christ’s obedience, He fixed the brokenness of God’s creation and created ones!*
In Christ, work is redeemed. We find satisfaction in our creative work because it is deeply human. We were created to reflect God’s likeness in our ability to work and be creative. Yet non-Christians can experience this too, as there are many people out there who don’t know Jesus and are deeply creative and extremely talented in many different spheres. This is due to something called “common grace”. We are all created in God’s image, Chrstians and non-Christians alike, and so we reflect God's image whether we know it or not. Yet for Christians, good work takes on a whole new meaning: we know that being creative not only means that we are “imaging” God, but also that the satisfaction we experience in good work is a foretaste of what we will one day expereince with Jesus in the New Heavens and New Earth. As we cook a beautiful meal or knit a beautiful blanket, we are looking forward to a day when all things will be made right in Jesus. No longer will we be under the curse of sin, where diseases like COVID are rampant and sin reigns in the hearts of men. One day, we will be with Jesus, when all that is broken will be restored and we will reflect God’s glory fully and perfectly before our maker. Take heart, Christians, for Jesus has already triumphed and has the final word.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, as you go throughout the week, continue to find joy in little acts of creating. Let these creative moments be acts of worship as you remember the work of Christ on the cross and look forward to the day of his return. To take this even further, think about how you can use your creations to bless the community around you. In this, you not only meet physical and emotional needs of loved ones, but you also have the opportunity to share the hope that is within you because of Jesus Christ.
* The Bible tells us that we currently live in an “already not yet” time, where Christ has already inaugurated his kingdom of healing, yet we are in that “not yet” time where this kingdom is not yet consummated, meaning that we will not see it in its full fruition until Christ returns to bring down the new heavens and the new earth.