The Value of Work – Genesis 2:5-18

A short time before Kathy, an older woman in our church, passed away, she told a friend she wouldn’t be worried about her children any longer. She felt she had fulfilled her purpose, that God was pleased, and now she could rest.

After God had created a bunch of amazing things like planets, the fireball of a sun, a moon for a nightlight, oceans and mountains, you’d think he’d be ready for time off, too. But unlike my friend nearing the end of her life, God wasn’t done with his work. He wanted a garden.

God’s great works

“When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground, and a mist was going up from the land and was watering the whole face of the ground—then the Lord God formed the man of dust from the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living creature.

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“And the Lord God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground the Lord God made to spring up every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food. The tree of life was in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.’

“Then the Lord God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’ ” (Genesis 2:5-18 ESV).

He gave us an assignment

I hadn’t seen it before, but the scripture says that God made the man, then planted the garden and put him in it. It’s apparent Adam watched God work and learned from him how to care for the garden. This is consistent with what we understand of God as a good Father, teaching his children to do well in work and in life, and to avoid the hazards along the way.

And isn’t it interesting that God demonstrated a work ethic and gave humans tasks to do before there was hunger or lack. The fall into sin, and subsequently the separation from our Creator, hadn’t occurred yet. Work was good, and relational, and mirrored the power of the Maker of all things.

Can you imagine God lounging on the patio with a cool drink, Adam and Eve on either side of him, surveying the outcome of their week’s work? Maybe that’s what my friend Kathy is enjoying right now.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

I Taught my Son to Worship a Dog – Psalm 25:4-5

Our new puppy Max was no god.

The shepherd mix was my 5-year-old’s favorite playmate when his brothers weren’t around. Seth’s early experiences with his friend, however, were painful. Max nipped at fingers, making Seth pull his hand back. My son soon came inside with a frown, sliding the glass door between him and his pet.

Dog Training 101

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I reminded Seth that Max was still a baby and didn’t understand that bites hurt. Then I gave him some pointers. “When he nips at you, stop playing, pat his nose and say no.”

It seemed to work for a while, then from my kitchen window I saw that repeated no’s only made Max more playful. Nose tapping became part of the game.

I called Seth in again, recognizing he needed a little more help with puppy training. “Sometimes you should tell him he’s doing a good job. You wouldn’t like to hear no all the time, right? When he does something right you should praise him.”

“OK, Mommy.”

A little later I checked up on them. I found Seth on his knees, bowing toward his attentive puppy, hands tightly clasped as if in prayer, saying “Praise you, praise you, praise you” —to the dog!

Max cocked his head, trying to figure out how to make this new game more fun, while I seriously questioned my ability to communicate.

A Better Teacher

“Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long . . . Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in the way. He leads the humble in what is right, and teaches the humble his way.” (Psalm 25:4-5 and 8-9 ESV).

God patiently teaches us his ways, and for that I’m forever grateful. Where would we be if my kids had only experienced my not-always-great parenting skills?

by Kathy Sheldon Davis

Parenting Tip #5 – Teach God’s Ways

Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be able to help our children avoid making the same mistakes we made? I think there are guides for accomplishing this in the Law given to Moses and in following Jesus’ example.

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from pavaranda. stockxchng

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9 ESV).

The scripture says I need to keep these words, of loving God with all I am, in my heart. He says I must teach them diligently to my children. Then he tells me how to do it: Talking about loving him when I’m sitting, walking, lying down, rising; and keeping his words before me always.

This is how Jesus taught his followers.

I mentioned in an earlier post, Parenting Tip #3, that we can copy Jesus’ example in his interactions with his disciples. He was God’s perfect Son, yet he humbled himself and walked, ate, slept, admonished, fed, taught and encouraged them day by day.

“Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ” (1 Corinthians 1:11 ESV).

I need to bring my children to Jesus daily, sitting with them, walking with them, engaging them in discussions they’re curious about – and otherwise teaching them in all ways possible of the importance of loving God with all they have. So they can know him and follow him, and grow beyond my human limitations and my mistakes.

by Kathy Sheldon Davis