When I read the account of Adam and Eve, starting in Genesis 3, the phrase that comes to mind is, “You had one job.” Adam’s job was to tend the garden. Eve’s job was to help Adam. And their job as a couple was twofold: have children and take dominion over the earth. So it wasn’t EXACTLY one job, but it’s what I think about.
What significance does this have? It actually affects every day of our lives. Back in the beginning of time, these 2 sinless, immortal adults were walking around, and they had one job each. Have you ever, in your whole life, just had one job? As a kid you may have had one thing to do at a time, but you had more than one job. Today, if we find someone who says, “My only responsibility is to clean the toilets” or “The only task I have is to answer the phone,” we’d wonder — with disdain, which comes from pride — why they only have 1 thing.
This type of denigration and wonder toward others has 2 aspects to it: 1. We look down on others who aren’t as busy (that’s a phrase that will come into play soon) as we are; and, 2. Sin created a world that no longer operates on “you only have one job.”
About busy: we have a masochistic affinity for busyness – the one with the most responsibilities must be the best, most intelligent, most responsible person I know! So we go from feeling useless at “I’m only doing 5 things at once” to feeling overwhelmed and getting a martyr complex at “I’ve got so much to do that I hardly have time to sleep.” These are the people who exclaim, “You can sleep when you’re dead,” and end up actually doing or producing very little.
We read in Scripture, in Ecclesiastes 2:24, that “There is nothing better for people than to eat and drink, and to find enjoyment in their work. I also perceived that this ability to find enjoyment comes from God.” We also hear Jesus say (in Matthew 6:31-34), “So then, don’t worry saying, ‘What will we eat?’ or ‘What will we drink?’ or ‘What will we wear?’ For the unconverted pursue these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. So then, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Today has enough trouble of its own.”
We wonder why we’re either not doing enough or doing too much. We’re at a loss for satisfaction because we are doing exactly what Adam and Eve did – we’re just not content to do the single and simple things that God gave us to do. What if you only had one job? What if your job was to tend the garden? Would you be satisfied? If you lived in a world where everything was at peace and there was no need to have a job, what would you do? One of Adam’s lessons to us is this: you’d be dissatisfied. They had it all – everything was provided, they were free to roam over a whole planet, they had no need for clothes or medicine, or to shop for food or learn self-defense. They had almost everything, being denied only one thing – the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They even had the Tree of Life, but they just had to have the other tree.
Perhaps your life is complicated and full of trouble because you’re just simply discontent to do the simple, even singular, things that you have to do AND enjoy them. What can make it worse is that they’re the same things that everybody does – have breakfast, do some work (work is actually part of the original design, so don’t confuse having a job and a bad boss and fussy colleagues for work), raise your children, be with your spouse. Are you dissatisfied with what you have? We were, and still are, created to enjoy life and this world. So don’t recreate Adam’s sin – it’s perfectly fine, and part of our design, to eat from the Tree of Life, and leave out eating from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.
The idea that we can do something other or better than what’s already been done is called Pride. Yes, you are proud, and so am I. Many times a day I get to the point where I think that if I just keep up with X for another year or two, then God will bless me! In truth, He’s already given me all that I need, so there’s NOTHING else that I need..nothing. I have it all. I have to constantly remind myself that I don’t lack anything. Do I want things? Of course. I’ve learned that if I really need something, then it will come my way – God takes care of His children, and He makes the rain fall on the righteous and the unrighteous.
This truth frees us to enjoy all that we do. Do you like to run? Then run. Drink coffee? Then drink coffee. Play with kids? Play an instrument? Surf the web? Play computer games? Play sports? Do woodwork? The list of things to enjoy goes on and on. So why not give up the idea that you actually have to do so many things and just go do something, all the while enjoying it?