LABOR AND PROTECT
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15
My mother was a gentle soul with a great colorful and eccentric side. She loved the outdoors, loved gardening, and loved good dirt. When she visited us at our home in the Adirondack Mountains, she’d dig up soil to take home for her garden. While this may not seem eccentric, let me paint a further extreme. When she and my Dad traveled, she did not buy souvenirs per se, but brought home dirt from the area. If you opened her top dresser drawer, you could see little baggies of dirt and sticks from Germany, England, and Bermuda.
She also loved to collect kindling from the woods outside our home. It was stacked meticulously like matchsticks in our basement. On Saturday mornings, she would pop into the kitchen after breakfast, rub her hands together and exclaim, “What shall I get into today?” That meant she was headed outside to tend, explore, and preserve her garden. I can remember overhearing her say to a garden snake, “Well, hello there Mr. Snake.” I saw early that when a man or woman finds divine purpose for their life, it is a beautiful thing.
Adam was created to find fulfillment in labor that was given to him by his Creator. He was told to do two things; work and keep. To keep is to guard and protect. To protect the garden from what, or whom, is an interesting thought. There must have been evil outside the garden? Satan was certainly there.
Today, I don’t have to look very far to encounter darkness. My garden, my personal sphere of influence, was given to me by God. I labor with Him as He gives moment by moment instructions but I also protect what He’s entrusted to me. To labor without protecting is to throw my pearls before swine and allow the enemy to plunder recklessly.
Adam was given authority over the earth. God told him to rule and subdue it. Protecting is part of ruling. At whatever point I abdicate and assume that God will do all the protecting without my asking, I walk dangerously. When Jesus was prompted by His Father, He rose up to speak to the kingdom of darkness and inform them of their limits and parameters. I am reminded of Jesus’ own words, “I came to destroy the works of the evil one.”
God’s children can be lazy. We were given kingdom work. God’s children can also be passive. We were told to protect what is holy. Doing both to the glory of God, we discover our personal mission statement.
While I work today, let me also be the watchman on the wall. Amen