Word for the day by Christian Education Forum
Environment: To Till and To Keep
These verses speak of the divine creation of God. He created us humans from nothing with a purpose. Gen 2: 15 speak of that purpose: “To Work it and Keep it.” In Hebrew terms, we are to “abad” and & "shamar"; the garden. Abad means “to serve” and Shamar is a call “to protect.” Similar couplets are used to describe Gen 2:15: till and keep, enhance and protect.
Genesis 2:15 points to the idea that God the Creator has mandated man to work. He wants man to work hard to sustain His creation. However, he did not leave us helpless. He provided us with all the tools man needed to sustain the garden; water, fruit trees, and, most of all, God’s presence. He was there, partnering with Adam in the upkeep of this garden.
The environmentalist in me is joyful that God commands us to cultivate and protect what He has created. He did not give us dominion over His creation for us to destroy what we have been gifted. We are to make more of the environment. We are called to faithfully improve His garden, provide for the necessities of life, and preserve what we have.
The earth is the Lord’s and everything in it. We are assigned as caretakers of what He has created for us. However, we cannot work on what we don’t know: educating ourselves about our impact on the environment is what will lead us to preserve what we have been gifted. Better farming techniques, composting, renewable energy sources, and reusing create a better quality and larger quantity of food while taking care of the land. Keeping our waters clean from pollutants and reducing water usage provides water for those without easy access and preserves aquatic life. Altogether, it is slowing down climate change.
Each one of us can have a huge impact just by using less: being mindful of our choices will definitely reduce our carbon footprint. We don’t need crocodile skin shoes, especially when we have other cheaper, environment-friendly options available. We have endangered so many plants and animals simply because we failed to protect the one planet that we have. If we continue to live the way we are without tending His garden, we will see the degradation. We will have to live with the consequences of a dying planet and face our failure to protect God’s gifts of
In the past God commanded us to work the physical garden of Eden; today we are called to protect this planet and to tend to our hearts and souls so that in the future, one day, we will be with Lord the Father co-tending His Heavenly Kingdom again.
Almighty Father we praise you for creating us and surrounding us with this immeasurable beauty. As we walk our time on this earth, may we take care of and preserve what has been given to us. Be gracious to us as we till and tend our gifts and work to regrow and regenerate this land. We ask this in the name of our loving savior Jesus Christ. Amen.
Thought for the Day
“You are the LORD, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you” Nehemiah 9:6
St. Thomas Mar Thoma Church, Yonkers, NY