Early in the Bible, God creates man and puts him to work in a garden. Awhile later, man screws up. As a result, God tells man he will still have to work the land, but now his work will be more difficult. He will have to sweat and toil, fighting the thorns and such. People usually refer to this as “The Curse.” Man “falls” and God pronounces “the curse.”
Any man who has ever had to do physical labor knows what this curse thing means. It’s not that all men hate physical labor; in fact, many would say they enjoy it. The curse, however, comes when things don’t go right: when you work hard and make no progress, when you work hard and no one takes notice, when you work hard and it doesn’t go according to plan. The thorns, the extra toil and sweat. In these moments, men are painfully aware of the curse.
But I wonder, could working the land be a blessing?
Flash back to last Saturday morning. We had unusually warm temperatures in Mount Vernon, Illinois. We didn’t need jackets and I was considering putting on a pair of shorts. Mid-60s, early January. Because of the nice weather, I decided to do lawn work. We had leaves all over the yard, brush all over our landscaping and flowers–it looked atrocious. So I worked the land, and while I did, I pondered this notion:
I passed by the field of a sluggard,
by the vineyard of a man lacking sense,
and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns;
the ground was covered with nettles,
and its stone wall was broken down.
Then I saw and considered it;
I looked and received instruction.
A little sleep, a little slumber,
a little folding of the hands to rest,
and poverty will come upon you like a robber,
and want like an armed man.
See, I work hard in other others of life, but when it comes to lawn care, I’ve been lax. But thinking about this proverb, I realized there’s a link between poverty and not caring for your environment. And the more I thought about it, the converse might be true. Wealth and riches might be tied to taking care of your land. Think about it: what does the lawn look like in a trailer park or a poverty stricken area? What do lawns look like in the wealthy neighborhoods?