The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to … take care of it.
Have you ever lent someone a tool or toy, and it came back broken? That’s disappointing. You had something that was useful and good, but someone else ruined it.
When God instructed Adam to take care of Eden, he was like a lender who leased a valuable possession. He did not say, “It’s yours, do what you want with it.” He said, in effect, “It’s mine, and I want you to take care of it for me.”
The Hebrew term for “care” (shamar) is a common one in the Old Testament. God called his people to care for everything from their animals to their good name. Priests were to care for the tabernacle so that it would not only be free of debris but also remain a holy place. Caring involves protecting. Caring shows that you respect something.
The first human job description is this: Take care of things. In our various jobs, we specialize in our caring: some care for others’ health; some care for crops and cattle; others care for the education of children—and so on. Each of these is legitimate, godly work. God’s garden is our world, and it needs a lot of care. Its animals, plants, and political, educational, and economic systems all need care.
Caring for some aspect of God’s creation is doing God’s work in God’s world. What assignment has God given you?
Lord, thank you for this world and this life. May we care for it well, as you have instructed us to do. Amen.
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