The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15 ESV
My mother was a gentle soul, understated, but with a great colorful and eccentric side if she was comfortable around you. She 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 that eccentric, when she and my Dad traveled, she did not buy souvenirs per se but brought home dirt. If you opened her top dresser drawer, you could see little baggies of dirt and twigs 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 explore but would, inevitably, end up in her gardens. I can remember overhearing her say to a garden snake, “Well, hello there Mr. Snake.” (Our daughter Jaime was only four at the time, but this is one of her favorite memories.)I saw early that when a man or woman finds a divine purpose for their life, it is a beautiful thing.
Adam was created to find fulfillment in the labor his Creator gave him. And he did, for a while. He was told to do two things; work the garden and keep the garden. To keep means to guard and protect. But protect it from what, or whom? Satan of course. There were no other predators. Only him, lurking, waiting for an opportunity to corrupt everything just as he was corrupted.
My garden, my personal sphere of influence, was given to me by God. I labor with Him, but I also protect it with Him. To labor without protecting is foolish, allowing the enemy to plunder recklessly. Guarding it is one aspect of ‘ruling and subduing the earth’.
At whatever point I abdicate and assume that God will protect it without my direct involvement will end badly. I live in a dangerous world and ruling my part of it is cooperative, just as it was for Jesus. As He was directed by His Father, He confronted the kingdom of darkness. He informed them of their limits and parameters. He even revealed that this was part of His mission. “I came to destroy the works of the evil one.”
I do not want to be lazy; I was given kingdom work to do. I don’t want to be passive either; I was told to protect what is holy. Doing both to the glory of God is part of my personal mission statement.
While I work today, I will also be the watchman on the wall as You give me discernment. Amen