Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
When we read the beginning of Genesis 2 we are compelled to wonder what it would be like to care for the garden that God has planted. In antiquity the term was used more for a park-type place than for a place to grow food. Think of trees, shrubs, park benches, fountains, flower gardens, border gardens full of things to eat, and, prior to the Fall, no difficulties. There’s no mystery fungus killing the tomatoes. The rabbits only graze where they should. There’s no need to preserve food because there will always be plenty, in all the seasons. There may have been precious little for the man to do except enjoying the garden, though he was the caretaker.
God’s people have remained in this world, and we remain the caretakers of the garden God has given us. However, since the fall into sin it is a world full of hurt. Not only do the rabbits eat all the pea plants, but people harm, steal, and kill. The work of the garden is difficult and often yields little reward. We grow thorns and thistles by the sweat of our brow. Yet we remain gardeners in God’s world.
The text mentions the natural resources, including some which are probably primarily used for trading. It mentions water resources. It speaks of geographical realities. We still get to deal with all these. Extraction and stewardship of valuable products from the earth are included in the very human work of caring for God’s garden. Dealing with water even in this world of drought and flood is part of the work laid before us. And food, don’t forget the food. Since not all parts of the world are equally productive, and since there are seasons that produce food and seasons of dormancy, not only do we produce food, but we do so in such a way as to keep some all year round and to distribute it equitably to places all around the world.
God has placed his people in an amazing world, rich in all manner of resources, but we find now it is a fallen world. Our mandate remains - care for the garden. By God’s grace we hope to do exactly that, for the glory of God and the good of our neighbor.
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