A few days ago, my friends and I set out on a cross-country adventure to visit our friend Joseph’s family. That sounds simple enough … until I mention the fact that we live in Kenya and drive a 22-year-old SUV. As you can imagine, our six-hour drive quickly turned into a twelve-hour saga. We dodged oncoming traffic, cows, donkeys, and sheep in the road. We also spent half of the day broken down in a small mountain village. No worries though, because the story gets much better from here.
After many detours, we finally arrived at Joseph’s home, which just so happens to be situated amidst the largest tea plantation in Africa. Joseph and his family are all tea farmers. After introducing us to his family, Joseph took us out back to show us his tea. We spent hours strolling through the fields and learning how the family plants, cares for, and picks their crop. After that, we returned to the house for a fresh cup of Kenyan tea.
While sipping my second cupful, I thought about the long process that took place in order for the tea to get from the ground to my cup. After the day plucking in the field, I appreciated that tea so much more. I viewed it as the fruit of my labor, and I understood that it was planted with a specific purpose in mind.
There is something delightful about seeing, experiencing, and even tasting the purpose behind your labor. I think that God designed it like that. Genesis 2 tells us that the first thing God did after creating Adam was to “put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15) God was not simply trying to keep Adam busy. In fact, the word “work” in this verse is used in other Bible passages to mean “worship”. God created a world that was beautiful and wild, and He chose Adam to co-labor with Him in caring for it. Adam’s work in the garden was meant to be a purposeful and delightful partnership with his Creator … an act of worship.
Next, God gave Adam a helper. God’s plan for fruitfulness included filling the earth with worshippers. This would come about through the family unit. God even gave the world’s first couple a garden full of resources that they could leverage to create a life for their future family. Their lives and their work were meant to be purposeful acts that made the world a better place, giving them a sense of joy as they worked with the Lord. When I drank tea with Joseph’s family on the plantation that is exactly how I felt.
It is an act of worship to join with our Creator in making the world a better place. God has created and planned for the family unit to be central in this process. As parents, we can plant seeds of purpose in our sons and daughters as we love God and live out the purposes spelled out in His word as a family. We can trust our faithful God to grow and refine these seeds in our children. When we live in light of Gods purposes it brings us joy because we are doing what God created us to do.