8 The Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he placed the man he had formed. 9 The Lord God caused to grow out of the ground every tree pleasing in appearance and good for food, including the tree of life in the middle of the garden, as well as the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.10 A river went out from Eden to water the garden. From there it divided and became the source of four rivers. 11 The name of the first is Pishon, which flows through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. 12 Gold from that land is pure; bdellium and onyx are also there. 13 The name of the second river is Gihon, which flows through the entire land of Cush. 14 The name of the third river is Tigris, which runs east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.15 The Lord God took the man and placed him in the garden of Eden to work it and watch over it. 16 And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree of the garden, 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for on the day you eat from it, you will certainly die.”
I chucked as I read these words on a meme while scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed. Occasionally social media redeems itself with quips like this one. For a few moments more I re-read those words and considered the truth within them. “We really do have to take it upon ourselves to be good stewards of our bodies, and if we aren’t, God has wired us to be made fully aware when something goes awry.”
Stewardship doesn’t end with our physical bodies, although if we fail there, we will likely suffer repercussions in the other areas of our life. Like Adam and his physical garden of Eden, each of us has been given one or more “gardens” to tend—areas of our life that are wholly dependent on how we choose to steward our time and attention in our care for them.
These gardens come in many shapes and sizes: marriage, parenthood, caring for aging parents, or any role in a vocation—from overseeing hundreds of employees to being one of a hundred held accountable to a supervisor. Whether relationally or vocationally, how we respond to what God has given us has eternal implications—whether we realize it or not.
God placed Adam in Eden to work it and keep it. In addition to being given a task, Adam was given permission to eat from any tree in the garden except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If he ate the fruit of that tree, he would surely die.
Hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it? Adam could never have imagined just how much the trajectory of mankind hinged on his refusal to rightly steward his will. Instead of submitting to the voice of the Lord, he submitted to the voice of his wife, and as a result brought death on us all.
We, too, can be unaware of how our disobedience will impact not only ourselves, but those around us. When we steward our lives well, we not only take care of our physical needs, but our spiritual needs as well. Neglecting the Bible, prayer, and the life of the church is sure to bring about a disoriented spirit, which will deter us from following Christ. Abiding in Him through the stewardship of Bible study, intentional prayer, and serving the church will always draw us back.
Death isn’t the end, and it never was going to be the end—at least not for those of us who are in Christ. And because we are in Christ, may we live, and move, and have our being in Him (Acts 17:28), being keenly aware of what He has in store for us this day, and abiding in Him all along the way.
Questions to Ask Yourself
- Think of the people and responsibilities God has placed in your life, and consider your stewardship of them. What are you doing to best steward those things, and what are some ways you can improve on that stewardship?
- What can we learn from this passage that teaches us the cost of not stewarding our lives well?
Plant two seeds in two separate pots. In one pot, make sure to put the planted seed in the sun and keep the soil moist. As for the other pot, keep it in a darker area away for the sun and don’t water it at all. Which seed do you think will sprout first and grow the fastest? In the Bible passage above, we read that Adam and Eve were asked by God to tend to the garden and follow God’s directions. When we do that, we become like the seed that will sprout quickly and grow tall (the one with water and sunlight). If we are not tending to God’s garden and follow God’s direction, we will probably not grow very well, or at all.
Pray for favor in communities and with local leaders for our global workers. Pray that God would meet their family and ministry needs.