My heart was attracted to verse 15: The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.
From the moment of creation, before the fall and the entrance of sin into the world, humankind was given the task of working and caring for the land.
Work, labor, particularly caring for the earth we have been given, is part and parcel of being human.
In these opening scenes the bounty of the earth provided humanity’s food needs. And to this point nothing has been said about clothing or shelter as a need. So the land produced everything needed for life. And man and woman were to care for the land and to work it.
The basic meaning of ‘work’ in the context is connected with tilling or working the land (see verse 5). Humans were to tend to the land, till, cultivate, maybe prune, things like that.
“Caring for” on the other hand seems to carry the flavor of watching out for, maintaining, keeping (as in keeping the law). It has a bit of a protectorate role.
There is a great deal of talk these days about global warming. And the Pope’s encyclical on caring for the earth (which I have not read yet) attempted to put look at global warming and other environmental issues through a Biblical God-focused lens. Pope Francis is not the first to do this, just the most prominent.
It seems that Genesis 2 offers a God-oriented Biblically connected and inspired lens for people of faith to examine our care for the earth.
As I sit with the Lord this morning, I have no intention of solving the various world dilemmas regarding the environment. However, God does seem to be asking me to face my responsibility as a human, created in the image of God, and made for working and caring for the land God has given us.
I need to consider how I treat my environment. Do I waste precious resources? Do I abuse the earth with careless living? Do I do what I can to protect it… recycling, choosing less harmful products and so on? Do I feel a responsibility to maintain the earth in good order or am I living as if I can squeeze out whatever I want from it and then discard it?
My thoughts and eyes are on the practical… how can I, as one human, care for, protect and maintain the earth God has given us?
Lord, thank You for the gift of life on our planet with its beauty, variety and provision. Give me eyes to see how I can care for it and maintain it as Your steward here preserving it for generations to come, until Jesus returns and makes all things new. In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, I pray. Amen.