Genesis, the Book of Beginnings, really establishes God’s purpose for Creation. In Genesis we learn so much about God, ourselves, and all He intended for us to be. It is telling that God commands humankind to “fill the earth” and rule over it.
Then, we see man’s disobedience in the story of the Tower of Babel. Instead of filling the earth, humankind decides to “build ourselves a city . . . so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.”
From the beginning, God says go; man says no.
Today, men and women are born and progress from childhood to adulthood. Often, parents jealously guard their children and hope they will grow up to work in fields similar to the ones they worked in. Even moreso, they often hope their children will grow up to live in communities near where they live. This is understandable; the relationships we build with our children are powerfully strong. Moreover, it is a huge blessing to have three generations of family together.
But God’s command to go and fill the earth has been consistently sounded throughout history. In Genesis 1 God says fill the earth. In Genesis 11 man is punished for disobeying and scattered by God. In Genesis 12 God tells Abraham to go. Throughout the Old Testament God raises up Israel to be a beacon of light to the world and consistently tells them to pray for all the nations. When they are unfaithful He purposefully sends them to the nations.
Then, Jesus comes along, the most travelled missionary of all, descending from the glories of heaven to the lowest parts of earth, and He mentors many disciples. His parting words to these disciples? Go. Go! Fill the earth! Build the Kingdom of God. As you receive the Spirit be witnesses not just here in Jerusalem, but all over the world. Go!!!!
The good news for Christian families is that time on this earth is so short and fleeting. God talks about our time here as a day – gone in a moment just as the flowers of the field. We have all of eternity ahead of us to grow closer to Him and to one another. And, in heaven, our old shells of bodies will be cast away and we will be truly filled with lives that long to love one another. We won’t have times together in heaven where we bicker and backbite like sometimes happens here on earth.
I think God has planted in each one of us a passion to go. But the world says no. Stay. Be safe. Don’t risk it. Our hunger to go is strong, though, and we try to fulfill it with a week on a cruise ship, a week of hiking and hunting, or a time of conquering ski slopes. It can be fun, but at the end of each day we still feel empty. We’ve not filled the earth; we’ve not ruled over anything. We’ve just gone where we’ve been told to go by the itinerary of the cruise ship or the dictates of the clock.
People live 11 months of their year looking forward to their few weeks of vacation. Lives are lived(?) longing for a few moments of “vacation” during which we “get away” from our regular lives and taste a bit of excitement. Then we hurry back to the merry go round we’ve found ourselves on, grumbling all the way because our desks are piled up, our inboxes are full, and we can’t seem to keep up the pace. We instantly look forward to the next time “away from it all.”
When will we realize what we’ve done to ourselves? When will we open our eyes to the call on our lives? When will we be willing to obey the call to all to go and fill the earth with the knowledge and glory of our Amazing Creator?