Bible Society of South Africa

Gardening is not for the fainthearted – 13 March 2020

By Hennie Symington

Bible text(s)

15Then the LORD God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to cultivate it and guard it. 16He said to him, “You may eat the fruit of any tree in the garden,

Genesis 2:15-16GNBOpen in Bible reader

The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and keep it. Genesis 2:15-16

It takes patience and constant attention, as well as a complex intelligence, to know how to nurture multiple forms of life. It takes love to step outside of yourself and count the life of another as worthy of your energy and devotion. It also takes courage to admit to personal ignorance and incompetence when crops fail. For many of us, it is a lot easier to simply walk away from our gardens. We don’t need God to shut us out. We go willingly in search of an easier, more convenient and comfortable life that does not demand as much from us.

However, our walking away from our gardening responsibilities has led to a disastrous moment in the history of creation. Humanity’s abandonment of the humus or the soil we were made of has yielded a harvest of degraded and eroded soils, poisoned waters, diminishing forests and wetlands, and the erasure of countless numbers of plant and animal species. Our failure to be the gardeners God hoped we would be, has turned Earth as the place of delight into a place of pain and desolation, a place of needless suffering and death. We’ve made it hell on earth.

It is time to come to our senses.

I mean this quite literally. We need to learn to appreciate how much our senses have lost in every bite of artificial flavouring, every whiff of polluted air, every sound, and every gulp of contaminated water. We need to re-educate our senses so that they can appreciate life’s needs and savour its delectable qualities.

This sort of education happens best in gardens. It happens when we learn to garden with God, the first, the best, and the eternal Gardener.

Prayer: Dear Lord, alert my heart, my mind and my senses to the wonder of creation. Teach me to see nature through the eye of the Creator who gave us the best He has which is nature in all its splendour. Amen

Bible Society of South Africav.4.20.15
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