To tend and keep…

James W. Sweat
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Whenever I visit my doctor—as reluctant as I am about it—the nurse will inevitably take my vital signs, including my blood pressure. In an effort to skew the results in my favor, I typically close my eyes to envision a warm, white sandy beach, and the sounds of surf on a pristine emerald shoreline as I sit under a beach umbrella, savoring the bouquet of an ice cold beverage! Ahhhhh!

I do not know if there are any scientific trials that prove this actually works—but it seems to work for me. I remember one particular occasion when I was privileged to experience that precise idyllic setting. My blood pressure must have been lower than ever as my family and I captured the perfect beauty and serenity of God's wonderful creation.

As most things go in this life, nothing remains perfect for long. While peacefully sitting there in an almost dreamy state of tranquility, enjoying the aquatic warm breeze and deeply breathing in the glorious sea air, I inhaled a noxious puff of cigarette smoke from a neighbor predisposed to violate what should be a basic right of all individuals, to breath fresh clean air—hence the resultant rise in my blood pressure.

So, to escape the nauseous cloud of toxic smolder and the ensuing cigarette butt flipped out onto the otherwise flawless water's edge, I decided to take a dip in the azurite hue of sparkling sea water, when my eye was drawn toward something out of place just under the surf—a discarded beer bottle.

While these personal experiences seem minor, it certainly underscores the attitude of some in regard to keeping pure and beautiful what God has made. Almost anywhere you go—if man has been there—he has left his destructive mark in one way or another. From casual littering to farming pesticides to industrial pollution, mankind is virtually swimming in his own disgusting debris of noxious wastes.

In the beginning, God set His creation in order, created human beings and gave them dominion over the earth—thus, the ability for good or bad to influence their own environment. One of the first commands He gave Adam and Eve as He placed them in the garden was to "tend and keep" the garden (Genesis 2:15). To "tend" or "dress" (KJV) means to take attentive and nurturing care as one would a valuable possession. To "keep it" involves preserving and maintaining what has been given in its original state.

Due to humankind's intrinsic rebellious nature, nearly every instruction God has given has been ignored, trod upon or totally disregarded. Still, God has always expected us to "tend and keep" His creation. That means being involved in progress that improves and genuinely makes things better. It means leaving our surroundings in better condition than they were when we arrived—which requires a hands-on approach. It involves a fundamental principle all of us should have learned in kindergarten: if you make a mess—clean it up! Do we still teach our children these principles?

Several years ago, at the conclusion of church services, I overheard a family with small children seated behind us. The children had made quite a mess in their surroundings. The mother told her children, "We need to clean up the mess," but the father, impatient and in a hurry to depart, responded, "Leave it, they have people for that." The lesson for another generation was to continue breaking God's command to "tend and keep!"

The Bible foretells a time when all of God's laws will become a natural part of human thinking (Hebrews 8:10–11). Nations and individuals will be instructed openly, "This is the way, walk in it" (Isaiah 30:20–21). Dodging responsibility to tend and keep the earth will no longer be tolerated by a loving Creator. An era of restoration is coming by the hand of the Creator Himself—a time, finally, when our environs will resemble their original pristine condition, as in the Garden of Eden (Ezekiel 36:35–36).

If you would like to know more about this coming Utopia on earth and how you can be a part of it, be sure to request our free booklet, The World Ahead: What Will It Be Like? and view our Tomorrow's World telecast, "A New World is Coming."

  Originally Published: 01st September 2009