From this week onwards, the Trinity blog will be published once a week on a Monday, giving the opportunity to think further about the passage taught the previous day.
Who wouldn’t want to be self-made? The self-made man or woman, in our culture, is high-achieving, has overcome the odds, and forged success out of a disadvantaged beginning. Above all, he or she commands respect, and deserves reward. That’s the basis, anyway, of the advert above. “After the umpteenth year” it says “the self-made man rested”. Then, it adds down in bottom right hand corner, “Find the home you deserve.” You’ve worked hard, the advert implies, and you have come out on top. Now enjoy the financial gains which are rightfully yours, and make yourself very comfortable in an expensive house.
The advertising copywriter is misquoting Genesis 2, in a way which is (intentionally or unintentionally) ironic. The self-made man in the advert is now the God-figure – he will take the credit for himself, and his domain of rest (rather than an extravagant creation shared with others) is a man-made house where he can find privacy. Rather than the generous God of the Bible, we have a selfish disciple of materialism. We know that his rest will be inadequate and short-lived, and yet we still envy him for his affluence, influence, and ease.
The truth is that we often behave ourselves as if we were self-made people, rather than created people. If we genuinely knew that we were created, we would acknowledge God’s ownership (he can do with us whatever he wants), and take our purpose from him (God can deploy us to rule and relate as kingdom-builders in whatever way he wishes). In other words, we would lay down our lives for him, knowing that we are only acknowledging what is already true. The real irony is that in giving up what we felt was ours and turning to someone else, God’s son, we will find a far greater rest that the empty promises of materialism can ever provide.
Read Genesis 1:1-2:25 and think about the following questions.
How, in general, does someone’s origin influence their identity? Can you think of examples?
God is the subject of almost every verb in chapter 1. What do we learn there about his character?
Mankind is more in focus in the action of chapter 2. What do we learn there about what makes us human, and how we relate to God?
The first two chapters of the Bible, written originally to God’s people on the brink of the promised land, teach that God is loving creator, and that we are image-bearing creatures. Why did they need to hear that? Why might we?
Pray: that you would be content to be owned and commissioned by God, taking on his purposes as your own. Give thanks that you are God-made rather than self-made. And pray that you would one day experience the rest that Genesis 2 foreshadows, and Jesus himself promises (Matt 11:28).