Read: Genesis 3:18-19
Growing up, my mom’s best friend had a small farm, and every summer we helped out with weeding and picking vegetables. I was always amazed at how hard it was to keep out the weeds in one row of tomatoes, and how long it took to pick just a few plants worth of green beans. By the end of the day, we were exhausted, dirty, soaked with sweat, and ready to hop into the pool.
I’ve never actually been a farmer, but for thousands of years, people have labored, worked and worn themselves out tilling and maintaining the earth to grow fresh food. It’s hard to imagine that the earth wasn’t always full of stony dirt, sharp thorns, and stubborn weeds. Genesis 3:18-19 shows that the ground was cursed because of Adam’s sin. It’s interesting to note that even though Adam wasn’t directly cursed in his punishment, the ground was. When we look at the pollution, the many extinct species, and decay that is evident throughout the land and waters, it’s easy to see that the world was affected by the punishment of fallen humanity.
If we’re honest with ourselves, the world is in a bad state. It’s polluted, bogged down with thousands of years of trash, and carrying the weight of the blood of millions of innocent people’s deaths. Sometimes I feel like there is no hope left on this earth.
Sweat and exhaustion are reflections of the punishment Adam was given as a result of his sin. He and his descendants on this earth (which includes you and me) have never known life without hardship and pain. It was not meant to be this way, and yet because of depravity, it is all we know.
The passage finishes with the imagery of Adam being dust, and returning to dust in death. This brings to mind the beautiful and loving way Adam was crafted from dirt, and now this has been shifted into a sorrowful examination that he will return to dirt once more in death.
Yet, there is hope. The Messiah, who has been promised a few verses before, will come in all His glory and bring about restoration and redemption. Humanity is no longer left in the dust and death that they have put themselves in. There is redemption to be held once more, and someday, we will live on an earth where there is no more evil and no more horrible hatred of the land that God has given us.
How do you view your daily work? Do you feel God has a purpose in it? Today, we can also think about the way we look at the earth. The earth has been given to us by God. We have a responsibility to care for it, not something to be taken lightly or to dismiss. How can you care for your work and the world in a way that honors God?