Growing up in church, I often heard the Great Commission of Matthew 28 quoted, but little mention was made of the First Commission of Genesis 1.
In the Great Commission, Jesus says: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you… "
This was often quoted in reference to missionaries, which may explain why I reduced the message to: “Go tell people how they can be saved, so that when they die, they can go to heaven.”
To my impressionable mind, soul-saving was the only real reason for living, and the only legitimate purpose for Christians to remain on earth after they got saved.
The First Commission of Genesis 1:26-28—where God commissioned humans to govern over all the earth—was far off my radar. After all, it is a commission to rule over this material world, and somehow I got the impression the material world was something I should not take very seriously.
Songs to that effect filled my young mind: “This world is not my home, I’m just a passing through...;” “Turn your eyes upon Jesus…and the things of earth will grow strangely dim…” “Some glad morning when this life is ‘ore, I’ll fly away…”
Heaven was the focus—not Earth. “Why polish brass on a sinking ship?” This didn’t leave many occupational choices for me. If I was going to do something truly God-honoring with my life, my choices were limited to being a pastor or a missionary.
Have you ever felt this way? If so, I’d like to journey with you. The comments and questions that you provide will help to move our conversation along.