Dress and Keep

The Bible records that the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden and he put the man whom he had formed in it (Genesis 2:8). Seven verses later, the Bible gives the reason as to why the Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden. It was for the man to dress it and keep it (Genesis 2:15). In other words, the man, who was given dominion over all things (animals and plants), was given the responsibility to be the caretaker of the garden God created.

The word “dress” is used in the context of “to prepare (as an offering)” as is evident from other passages in the scripture (Genesis 18:7; Exodus 30:7). To “keep” is to “tend to” or “to take care of”. Man was therefore given the responsibility to prepare and take care of God’s creation. This verse also gives us insight that though the “work for food” was a result of man’s disobedience and the curse (Genesis 3:17), “work” itself is not.

Points to ponder:
We are created to be workers for (not mere hearers of) God (James 1:22) and God has placed us in his created world to prepare the world (as an offering) for his coming and to be caretakers of his flock. The resurrected Jesus asked Simon Peter, “Do you love me?” three times and upon Peter’s response gave him the responsibility to feed and tend his people (lambs and sheep) (John 21:15-17). This highlights that “work” for the Lord is an expression of our love for him.  Jesus, the last Adam, said that even the Son of man (referring to himself) came to minister (work), and not to be ministered (Mark 10:45).

The question that remains then is like the first Adam, will we fail in our work to dress and keep God’s creation or like Jesus, the last Adam, will we finish the work that he has ordained unto each one of us, so that when we see him face to face, we can give the testimony, that we fed and tended his people, we finished the work that was given to us and we kept the faith in being faithful as workers for God. We are called to dress and keep – let us not find ourselves, naked and poor (Revelation 3:17 ), when we meet God, face to face.

Genesis 2:8,15 (KJV)
And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.

John 21:15-17 (NKJV)
15 So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” 
He said to him, “Feed My lambs.”
16 He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?”
He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.”
He said to him, “Tend My sheep.”
17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?”
And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.”
Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.

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