Ruth Ann started us on our Journey of Lent on Ash Wednesday as she told us why it is important not only for the church but also for the believers of Jesus Christ to remember through the imposition of the ashes that we have begun our journey of Lent.
Today I as we continue our journey through Lent, we are also reminded of our own personal journey toward the end of our destiny here on earth.
I know that scares each of us and yet it is a hard reality of which we will all face one day.
Since we are on such a journey, it is times like this that we need to be reminded that we need to be right for when our journey here on earth has ended, that our journey will continue into eternity.
For those who believe and have given their hearts and souls to Jesus Christ, you are already on your journey of eternal life and need to be reminded along the way that you are on the correct pathway.
These bodies may not feel like they are on a journey of eternal life, but soon we will shed these bodies and receive new ones.
We are assured of this through the words of which Jesus spoke and are recorded in the scriptures that tell us the reason and promise of eternal life.
How many of you have used Ancestory.com to search for your heritage, your family background?
If you have, then you have found out such things as..
· Origin or meaning of the name
· Where your ancestors originated
· Professions of ancestors
· And sometimes the not so glamorous side of your family.
Today we are looking at the Bibles version, or what I call the Ancestory.com version as we read from Genesis 2:15-17, 3:1-7
1st thing we see or find out is that our ancestors originated in a garden called Eden and they were given the job to till or keep the land. I guess we could say that they were farmers or caretakers.
2nd thing we read is that our ancestor Adam received a helper, and from this, we can guess that he got married.
3rd thing we read is that there was not a glamorous side of our ancestors and that they must have either had a learning disability or that they were renegades against the establishment because they did the opposite of what they were told.
We do not know their age, so maybe they were just rebellious teenagers doing their own thing because we were all teenagers at one time and rebellious (weren’t we?)
4th thing we read is that there was a judgment placed upon our unruly ancestors.
They were expelled from the garden and became migrants in search of a home and also in search of righteousness before God.
Now, people throughout the years have laid the blame upon God for putting temptation before them. They have blamed God for forcing this young couple to choose between good and evil and they have even blamed God for putting this tree in the garden if He knew that it was going to cause temptation.
The tree is not a problem. Even though this tree is mentioned in the placement within the garden and in the temptation of our ancestors, we cannot and should not blame either the tree or God himself.
I say that because the tree is not mentioned in other scripture passages and in very few if any of the ancient literature, so we can safely say that the tree was and is not the problem with our ancestors.
What we can see and understand is that the problem with our ancestors is a thing called “Obedience.”
When God’s commandments are broken, human flourishing is also compromised so as a result, the trust, obedience and intimacy or relationship with God is also broken.
This broken relationship is why we are called to go on a journey of Lent, not to restore the broken relationship between Adam and God, but for us to examine our own personal relationship with God and restore it before we are expelled from the garden also.
We could be as brave as some who have claimed that Christ died upon the cross for our sins, we have repented and therefore are guaranteed a seat in the heavenly choir, so we don’t need to be reminded to change our ways.
If you want to declare such a thing, you may be right and yet because of a thing called pride, you may be wrong also and I do not have the answer either.
I am sure that if it was possible for Adam and for us to take one of those DNA tests, we would see that we all bear the same gene of disobedience and therefore we are probably wrong in thinking that we are righteous before God.
It is probably safe to say that just like our ancestors, we have also eaten of the forbidden fruit and we do or own thing and not what God wants or requires of us.
We let pride dictate to us of our understanding of how we fit into God's world.
In this modern-day world, we often think of humanity being at the apex of creation, that we were created to walk beside God as his companion, and that is not correct thinking either.
When we read the creation story and put ourselves into the Genesis 1:26 part, we read that we are to have dominion over all the rest of creation.
In Genesis 1:28 we read that we are to be fruitful and multiply and through these two verses our scientific and physiological theories elevate ourselves so high on the creation scale that we are edging the Son of God out of his own throne.
If we are not careful, we can put such high priority on ourselves that we overlook Gen 2:15.
We overlook that we were created for a God-given purpose.
We were not created for ourselves; we were created in order to till and keep the garden.
Now, this is not to say that we are insignificant by any standards.
This is to say that out of the base of God’s creation, out of the dust of the earth, God took what he declared good and He created us in order to work the ground, to take care of His creation.
God gives us a purpose and a reason. The garden is no small responsibility and we are not to be lords of leisure over the garden and sit back and let the garden serve us.
Ever since God first breathed life into our ancestors, they have had a responsibility to preserve and protect the garden. That same responsibility is passed onto us and we will pass it to the next generation also.
This story today is a reminder of our mission and it also has a warning for us not to get distracted from the mission at hand.
God forbade Adam from eating the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, not because the tree itself was bad, but for the sake of Adam to validate pure and simple obedience to him.
Once a simple thing we call obedience, or what God calls a command is broken, sin and death enter in.
It is now present within our beings and it begins to warp our minds, our hearts, our actions and from this, we become enslaved to sin.
When we become enslaved to sin, we become distracted from our mission to serve God and work his garden.
God’s garden now becomes our garden and we use it for pleasure, and we start to look at how it can satisfy our desires, or how can I benefit from it?
We begin to cast others aside and to classify their worth to our desires and dreams and of how they can be used for our needs.
We begin to decide what and who is the good fruit of which we can consume.
Unfortunately, we will use our God-given intellect to rationalize or justify doing the things that are not part of the mission that God has made us for.
We produce enough food to feed all the world and yet we fail to feed our brothers and sisters as we place the need for fuel to power our adult toys upon the grain and corn, and not upon feeding starving people.
We fail to cloth the naked as we place a priority on the wardrobes that cover our own nakedness. We want to fill our closets with the best clothes and at the same time, we watch others struggle to keep warm or to have shoes to wear.
Even the necessity of shelter for the homeless is lost as we make room for our own luxuries and consumerism to build luxury homes and sheds to store all of our stuff in.
Or as that internet game Forge of Empires is advertised, to build yourself the greatest empire to satisfy your desires. It could be a good example of man's real-life actions in trying to forge our own destinies.
When we try and forge our own destiny, we can and will become lost and need to be reminded that the harvest is plentiful, and the workers are few.
We need to be reminded that we have been called to a mission and that mission is the so-called Great Commission of going out and making disciples for the transformation of the world.
That my friend is being fruitful and multiplying when we make disciples for Christ.
To till and work God’s garden. That is working and subduing the land when we spread gospel holiness and not the lies of Satan. That is taking back Gods Garden
We need such a journey as Lent.
For the church, it is a time of penance, of recognizing the ways of which we have let ourselves be distracted from the mission that God intended for us.
To remind us that the mission has not changed and that our going astray is the aftermath of our stumbling and disobedience, of chasing our own dreams and aspirations.
God still calls us back to the right path.
God calls us to back to him every day and every Lenten journey to follow His son. Calling us to repent and turn back before it is too late.