November 03, 2010

Tending God's Garden

Genesis 2:4-15

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it…
Genesis 2:15


Are you a gardener? I am, but I am not half the gardener my father is. He built a little hot-house for seedlings so he could get his plants in early. He has a planting chart mentally laid out well in advance, planning where each plant will go. He gets manure brought in from a local farmer—and all this before the actual planting begins!

God placed us on earth to do some work. I suppose God could have made the world in such a way that we didn’t need to do anything. Maybe the vines could grow year round and their fruit would fall into our mouths; or the wool of the sheep would automatically spin into cloth. Instead, God created the world so his children could use its fertile soil and resources to do productive and creative things. The Creator made his children much like himself. Work is not a result of the curse (see Genesis 3). Rather, work demonstrates our nature as God’s imagebearers. We are re-creators who have been given a measure of our Father’s capability and creativity.

Whether it involves gardening, engineering, teaching, building, or dozens of other occupations, our work is something like our Father’s. We are to shape and change and develop the good creation that God provides. By doing productive work in God’s world, we show that we are his children.

Dear Father, thank you for our work. Help us to creatively labor in your amazing creation. Amen.

About the author — Kent Van Til

Kent Van Til was a missionary in Costa Rica. He taught theological ethics both there and in the USA. He is the author of four books. The most recent is a spiritual biography of his grandmother entitled, "A Name for Herself: A Dutch Immigrant's Story." Kent likes to fish, hunt, make music, and entertain his grandchildren.

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