by Michelle Mihalakis
“Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men” (Mark 1:17).
We read in Gen. 2:5 that God planted the earth with seed before He put man in the garden. “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.”
The meaning of the word till in Strong’s Dictionary means to be honored, to worship, to enslave, or to be made to serve. Encarta World English Dictionary indicates that it comes from the English word tillian, which means to cultivate. An earlier meaning was to strive to obtain something.
Before man was created, the garden was missing a major component. It lacked worshipers; so God made man to fulfill that need. He wanted mankind to worship Him; and true worship tills the seedbed of the heart. God wanted the garden to be so awe inspiring that His human creation would just want to worship Him.
The garden that God planted for Adam and Eve’s habitation was perfect and beautiful. The trees were lovely and bore fruit that tasted wonderful. God made this paradise to be fruitful and fulfilling so they would realize how much He loved them.
In Gen. 2:15 the Bible tells us that God placed man in Eden to dress and keep it. A study of the word dress has the same definition as the word till that we previously defined. From God’s perspective, mankind was the showiest piece in the whole garden. There wasn’t another element in the confines of that arboretum that accented it quite like man did.
The word keep in this scripture denotes that one is to protect, watch, and build a hedge around something. I believe that God warned Adam and Eve about Satan’s devices. They were given instructions to watch over, exercise care, and have respect for what God had put in their trust.
We know that weeds were part of the curse pronounced by God after Adam and Eve ate from the forbidden tree. That tells me that before the fall, God wouldn’t have needed someone to literally till or cultivate a garden in the same manner we do today. When you first plant a garden there are no weeds in it, but later the weeds will manifest themselves. The hardest part of growing a garden is keeping it weeded; but the newcomers to Eden didn’t have to worry about keeping the weeds out.
I don’t believe that God ever intended for Adam and Eve to literally labor over the fruit of the garden; but the beauty of Eden was to be enjoyed. God wanted them to enjoy it with minimum effort. He also wanted Adam to have purpose. I believe the job that God gave to Adam was to harvest the garden. Reaping the harvest of a garden is really the most rewarding part, and Adam and Eve got to watch the growing process come full circle until the day they picked and ate the harvest. Everything they needed could be found somewhere in the garden. They were to just enjoy it.
As long as Adam and Eve were obedient, there wasn’t a need for soul winners because all was well between God and mankind. But when they fell into sin, God lost His laborers of the harvest. Now, since the fall of man until the end of the Church age, God has needed laborers to restore what was lost that fateful day.