And the Lord God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.
This was the task of Adam, being created by God in his image and likeness (Gen 1:26-28); and breathing the same “air” of God (Gen 2:7). Here Adam is not one a person, but he represents the whole of humanity which is entrusted with the task of “dressing and keeping” the garden of Eden.
These two verbs – to dress and to keep – explain what is the nature of human work. Working is not only the way to earn a living and it must not be an absolute in the life of men and women. The two hebrew verbs say instead that human work is a true act of worship to God (avad – “to dress, to cultivate”); human labor is also the observance of a specific precept given by God, the fulfillment of a mission he entrusted (shamar – “to keep”). Not some work but every job has these inherent characteristics established by God since creation.
Perhaps many of us will certainly have objections to make. Apart from a few lucky persons, most people do not get up in the morning so excited to go to work. Especially today, when many young people are forced to take low paid jobs.
But there is a chance to make our daily job, whatever it is, a true act of worship. That is, our job can become nice, pleasant and not frustrating. The secret is to live on this earth in an existential situation that can be described as “paradise”, which is similar to that of Adam in the Garden of Eden. What is it about?
The man who trusts in God, recognizing its extreme fragility, the transience of life, its own contradictions is a serene and happy man. A person who gives the right value to whatever he does, without exaggerations and, above all, without replacing God with what he does every day.
The discomfort we feel every day is often caused by our endless expectations. It may be that we have an honest job, which allows us to support the family, but we want more, more and more … this inner attitude causes frustration and dissatisfaction.
Remember that you can enter at any time in your “garden of Eden”: renouncing to emphasize everything you do, while putting everything in the hands of God and in so doing you’ll find the peace of mind.