The Theology of Yard Work

Genesis 1:28 Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Today is Saturday… the day I love to hate when the weather is warm and the sun is shining… and the grass is growing. Yard work is not my thing. It has become something I work at really hard, but it is a supernatural thing… not an act of the flesh.

The struggle reaches back to a childhood. I mowed, did the hedges, edged the lawn, and bagged the cuttings — only to watch it all come back next week (we lived in the South where everything grows with gusto). My attitude did not improve for many years. Well into adulthood, I found myself dreading the day when the yard would have to be tended to… again.

I hated yard work.

I grew conflicted, then convicted, when I realized that my Father cares about the way I care for my yard. It is a theological statement about what I really believe happened at creation and where I think He is taking the world in the future. The world was a place being threatened by chaos and by the enemy of our souls. He creates man and woman then tells them (in the Hebrew verse) to subdue the earth — to subjugate the earth, placing it under their directive influence. An Aramaic form of the word contains the idea of beating down a path — a place where you can walk at will in an environment under your control.

The world now is a very dark reflection of the Creator’s intent. Marred by sin and Satan’s dominance over the ages, mankind gave up his assignment in the Garden, yielding rule of the earth to the one Jesus called, the “ruler of this world.” Now we have man-eating creatures, blood-thirsty cycles of life, and killer forces of nature. It’s not okay. It is a world running amok.

Like my yard.

Jesus restores things. He puts people back into the physical and emotional state that the Creator intended. He un-does the work of the enemy. Ultimately, the earth itself will be restored to a new form, alive again with vibrant colors, arresting smells, and luscious tastes of the Garden. He calls His people to a ministry of restoration. He announces that God reigns and the kingdom of God is pressing into this world once again. But He does more than just talk, He also demonstrates the reign of God over and over and over again.

So shouldn’t my work reflect His work? Shouldn’t my yard reflect something of His creative intent? Shouldn’t my yard point to a future when He will restore the earth to a state of unutterable beauty?

Gotta run. Time to get into the yard… again.

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