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Our “Seventh Day”

Genesis 3:17-19: “To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food.”

Genesis 3:6- it’s the saddest verse in the Bible, if not all books ever written. It’s the verse that tells the story of Eve eating the fruit. It changed the history of the world. The verses above are the continuation. The consequence of Eve’s, and our sin. Work, a gift from God, became cursed. God’s intention for work was to bless us, which it does, even in sin. It puts dinner on the table and pays the electric bill. It even takes us on vacations- all gifts. Yet the tone and tenor of our work has changed, even in our callings as Lutheran educators. It’s now through painful toil. Ever had a pit in your stomach the minute you opened your email? Ever had a difficult meeting with a parent? Painful toils. Have your students achieved low test scores? Has anyone left your school because they were dissatisfied? Been through a school closure?  Thorns and thistles. Our work, though fulfilling, and of ultimate import in today’s world, is still done by the sweat of our brow. In addition, we have Satan working against us! How many other jobs can say that? It brings on a whole new dimension of ‘cursed’. As teachers, we feel this heavy load of sin-ruined work acutely in May. The school year has worn us out. We need to refresh our mindset back to God’s original intent for work: it is a gift.

Here we are, at the end of another school year. Summer lies before us like the open road we plan to travel in the next couple months. June and July (well at least most of July) are a balm for our tired souls. We need a breather. It’s time to rest and reflect. See family, friends, God’s creation- again, more gifts. Time to sleep in and enjoy a Sunday without lesson planning and grading. So, let’s go back to Genesis, to the time before the fall. Hear what God says:

Genesis 2:1-3: “Thus the heavens and the earth were completed in all their vast array. By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done.”

We were made in God’s image, and He knows what we need before we do. Omniscient, He knew what was to become of work. He knew we would need rest, so He created it for us. It’s about to begin: summer, our “seventh day”. And doesn’t summer feel holy? It’s the time to rest from our own work of creation. Teachers are nothing if they’re not creators: lesson plans, classroom procedures, structure and rules, schedules, decorations, and of course followers of Christ.

God’s blessing of rest is upon us. Let’s all feel the joy of this gift He designed for us. In your travels, in your days by the pool or the ocean, in your family board games and late-night conversations with longtime friends, remember that this also is God’s intent for us- our “seventh day”. Be thankful, rejuvenate and come back in August prepared to be Christ’s hands and feet; strengthened, refreshed and ready for His gift of work.

Ann Sielaff, Trinity Lutheran School, Litchfield Park, AZ


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