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Tending the garden

Some of us dread Monday mornings more than any other day of the week - looking longingly at the weekend that has drawn to a close upon us. Isn't it amazing how many times we look at the week as "good" or "bad" just by how it starts - how that "Monday" goes for us? If we have a so-so Monday, we hope for a good week. If Monday comes in like a fury, we just buckle up, settle, in, and hold on for the very bumpy ride! From time to time, I reread passages that I am quite familiar with in scripture and today was no different. I was re-reading the creation story and came across something pretty amazing about our great big God.

The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15)

God himself had just settled down after pretty long work week of creating all things. In recounting his "work week", we would find everything from creation of stars, moon, and sky to his 'big finale' of the creation of man himself. In the midst of this accounting, we find the words above - pointing toward a purpose for Adam - he wasn't just created and left to his own devices. Eden had been created for man to enjoy - but also to work - to have a purpose for each day. I don't believe Eden was an after-thought by God, but a pre-planned design in order to help Adam feel "purpose" in his life.

It was God's intent for us to work - and work well, putting our full selves into whatever it is that we have before us for the day. Adam was actually given the garden to work it and to take care of it with all the talent he had been given. God was taking care of Adam - but Adam also had some responsibilities he was to fulfill - his work was important. Guess what? God gave you the very position you find yourself in today - to work it and tend it - complete with the Mondays all the way to the much anticipated and appreciated weekends!

It makes no difference if you are placed in the position of going to work each day in a high-rise building, dressed in the nicest suit, or you scramble after wee ones, hair pulled back into a pony tail, clad in house-slippers, well-worn blue jeans, and your favorite sweatshirt. It is your position to work and tend what God has given - regardless of where it is your 'garden' might be. I think God created us to be involved in "fruitful" activity because he knows very well how much trouble we get into when our minds and hands are idle! In the idleness of our minds - we concoct all kinds of schemes - most of which are really not helpful to our soul, emotions, or spirit! Some might even call it mischief!

In today's economy, many are without "work" in the sense of being able to earn an income from a "job". There is a tendency to use the term "unemployed" as a tag or label for not having "productive" work for which we get paid. Don't get me wrong, but income is only one thing we "earn" from being engaged in "work". God says whatever we put our hands to, paid or unpaid activity, we are to do with all our might. It is in the activity he designs for us that we are immensely blessed - even when it seems like all hope we might have had is gone, we are barely walking around and a little on the wounded side, and the battle seems to be too tough to handle. As long as Adam was taking care of the garden as God had designed, he did well, enjoyed time with God, and communed in the presence of the Almighty. It was when Adam (and Eve) began to consider things in his (her) "idleness" trouble entered in! Regardless of the circumstances of our "work" week - God's words to us are: Work it and take care of it! It may not be all we expected, dreamed of, or hoped for - but it is ours! What we choose to do with the "work" we are given determines the "fruitfulness" of our "garden" this week!

For those who find themselves without gainful employment during these times, my prayer is for God to open doors for you this week which have previously been closed to you. May he richly reward you in the "labors" you are undertaking in your pursuit of employment. In the time between being "unemployed" and being "employed", may you never lose sight of the call to work and tend whatever it is he has given to you to do in this period of time. It is this activity which he intends for this season in your life - in it you will surely find blessing you never imagined possible! Just sayin!

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