Monday Minute: The Tree in the Middle

The last time I posted, I talked about the impact of the ancient imagery of the tree had on the writing in scripture. There was one part of the image of the Tree of Good and Evil that I wanted to make sure that I pointed out.

Genesis 3:8-9 The Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. 9The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

“In the middle.” The tree of Life was in the middle of the Garden, and so was the tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil – or “right and wrong.” I find that interesting.

In most homes across the world, there is one location that is the “middle” of the home. It is the hub. The spot that invariably is used the most. In my house, it is the top of the stairwell – our second floor is the main floor. In order to get from the family room to the kitchen to get a glass of water, you head up the stairs, passing through the top landing and going into the kitchen. To go from the kitchen to the living room, you pass through the landing area. Many times a day, the family walks through that area to get anywhere they want to go in the house.

If we have something important to do, or want a reminder about, we leave a reminder in the landing area. Anyone walking from one locatoin to another in the house passes by the reminder, which keeps it in our minds so that hopefully, no one forgets.

If you read Genesis 3, you’ll notice that Scripture mentions that there was no one to take care of the land, and then God made man, Adam. God tells Adam to take care of the garden, to be a steward of the land that he was placed in.

A steward cares for property, possessions, or whatever it is that they have been placed in charge of. They decide how it is to be used. They decide what to do in order to care for it. They get to use the plessings of the possession. But they don’t own it. There are many stories from ancient through modern times where the steward forgot that they were not the owner of whatever it was that was placed in their care.

I get the idea that the two trees where there for the same reason. Adam, and then at some point Eve, were placed in the garden. They took care of it. They pruned the trees, they cared for the plants there. They enhanced the fruit grown in the garden, and were told to freely enjoy the bounty provided by the garden they were caring for.
But it wansn’t theirs. They walked by the two ominous trees, placed right smack in the middle of their paradise. It was as if God placed a sign-post in the landing of their home, reminding them that they were only the stewards, that they were not the owner – God was.

In our world today, I think that is what the “trials of life” are. We profess to have surrendered, to have freely given, our very lives to God. He is the owner. We are only stewards of our lives. The trials are there to remind us that we need to depend on our owner, on God.

Like Adam and Eve, we can take matters into our own hands, and go our own way. We can try to work through things on our own, and deal with the fretting, the worry, and the struggle that comes with that. Or, we can petition the Owner for help. Peter calls us to cast our burdens and cares on Him, because he earnestly cares for us.

We need to remember to do that. Thinking about the position of the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowing right and wrong help us with how to do that. We need to place a reminder in the center of our lives, so its harder to forget.

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