And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there he put the man whom he had formed. (Genesis 2:8)
We often forget why we are here. We are here because God has made us with the intent for us to be God’s partners. You and I exist, at least in part, to do God’s work and to shape the creation which God has made and loves. We are invited to do what needs to be done for this to be the best world possible.
We often forget this and misunderstanding scripture doesn’t help. We think of Eden as a perfect place and then people show up. But in fact, people show up and only then does God make Eden. We have the story backwards! The Bible tells us the reason this is so is because if God starts planting a garden without a gardener it won’t work – there is “no one to till the ground.”
You and I are called to join in with God’s creative project. Left to our own devices, the story shows us that we will veer off the path and choose our own way, a way that leads to death and destruction. When it seems like this is the path of history, the Bible tells us that God’s commitment is greater than our ability. God comes to us in Jesus, does what needs to be done to make things right between us and God, and then invites us to join in with God’s work again. The partnership is restored.
So you and I – followers of Jesus – are given a new lease on life and a new chance to accept responsibility for making the world more like God wants. You don’t have to look far to see there is lots of work yet to be done. So be encouraged in the fact that your life is important. God is counting on us to join in! If we don’t God won’t quit on us. But if we do, we get to be included in the most important project ever – the redemption of the world!