Best of Daily Reflections: You Don’t Have to Be a Hero

Daily Reflection / Produced by The High Calling
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So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 1:1-31

Psychologist Madeline Levine, in her book The Price of Privilege, notes that among tweens, teens, and twenty-somethings, anxiety, depression, eating disorders, self-mutilation, and substance abuse are all in dramatic increase—not among the poor but among middle and upper middle class families. One of the chief reasons she found was the overwhelming and constant pressure to succeed and stand out from the crowd. The pressure comes from a variety of sources: concerned and well-meaning parents, teachers and schools, siblings and friends, and culture at large. With the price of college far outpacing the rate of inflation and the job market remaining anemic, the pressure to succeed has virtually exploded, making kids feel that they must make the very best scores on standardized tests and excel at everything they do in order to survive.

Failure for these kids is not losing; failure is being ordinary.

This is why we need to consider this pattern of God’s work in Genesis—not the finished product itself but the pattern of his work. It is not complicated. In fact, it seems very ordinary. God takes hold of his creation. He shapes it and restructures it. He distributes it and evaluates it. And God enjoys it. (You can read more about the pattern of God’s work in James Jordan’s book Through New Eyes.)

When we cook a meal or arrange a flower setting, we can see this same godly pattern even in our ordinary work. And that’s just it. You don’t have to be doing heroic, mind-blowing sorts of things in order to be glorifying God.

God shows us—by the pattern of his own work—that we don’t need elite status in order to be fulfilled, let alone for our work to matter. We should still pursue excellence, of course. God never calls us to mediocrity. But very few will ever be famous or stand out as absolutely unique among all the billions of people on the planet—and we shouldn’t die trying.

Work gives value to us precisely because it gets at the nature of what God made us to be. To work, to take hold of God’s creation—reshaping it and making use of it, distributing the fruit of our labor, evaluating it, and then resting in God’s provision, worshiping and thanking him for what he has given to us—that is what God intended for humanity.


Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

Genesis 2:1–3

QUESTIONS FOR FURTHER REFLECTION: How do you view your work? Is it a drudgery? Do you glorify God with it? Can you see God’s own pattern of work in your own?

PRAYER: Lord, use us to glorify yourself. Teach us to make use of the gifts you have given us. Shape us to be the sorts of people that show forth your majesty in our work and in our rest. Amen.

P. S. from Marcus Goodyear, acting Editor-in-Chief: Dave Peterson is on vacation this week, and we are delighted to bring you reflections from Dr, Rob Fossett. Dr. Fossett has adapted these reflections from his upcoming series of Sermon Notes from The High Calling. Later this summer, The High Calling will share Dr. Fossett’s sermons with thousands of subscribing pastors who want to teach their congregation a theological view of work. We know you will enjoy Rob’s wisdom as he invites us to reflect with him each morning.