In Genesis 1:28, God told Adam to be fruitful and to rule over the earth. Initially, I thought God wants Adam to manage the whole earth but instead, He planted a small garden named Eden, and placed him there. Why did God do this? Why did He limit man to this garden?
In the garden, God instructed man to “cultivate and keep” it. I learned that the word “cultivate” does not only mean to prepare the soil, but rather it means to improve its condition in order to grow bigger and better crops. But for Adam to do this, he had to stay put so as to protect the garden. I believe this is what it means to “keep.”
I learned that to “cultivate and keep” is part of man’s responsibility to rule over the earth. While most people think that to “rule over” means to have control, it basically means to “take care” of what you have. In the story of the garden, I believe that God was giving us a model of how He wants us to become fruitful. To achieve this, we must take care of whatever we have by cultivating it. Unfortunately, most people would rather “mine” the earth than cultivate it. To mine means to extract the fat of the land without replenishing it. And this attitude has not only destroyed the earth, but has also affected the way we manage our businesses.
A friend recently told me that he is planning to resign from his job because he was not growing anymore. He complained that the opportunities they were giving him were mostly repetitive and monotonous. But I discouraged him from doing so. Instead I told him to make the most of his position — to exert every effort to cultivate and improve his abilities, because by doing so, better opportunities will come his way. Furthermore, I told him that for him to grow, he must decide to stay put and protect the welfare of the company. Even Jeremiah 29:7 supports this, “protect the city (in this case, the company). Its welfare will be your welfare.”
God created us to be cultivators of the earth and keepers of our gardens. If only every Filipinos will take these things to heart, no one will be poor. Instead, we will all become fruitful rulers for the Lord. I wish we can also teach our children to think this way so that together, we can cultivate a better earth.