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Folks, I don’t know if you remember Allen Levi’s previous posts here in the Rabbit Room, so I’ll reintroduce you. He’s a southern gentleman from Columbus, Georgia, a singer/songwriter, a lay farmer (if there is such a thing) and is one of my all-time favorite people. In light of Lanier Ivester’s recent post about work and art, I thought it was appropriate to steal this post from Allen’s blog. (Also, since I happen to know Allen’s at least 12 feet tall, that makes the pictured sunflower a freak of nature.)
I’ve been scolded for returning to my old pattern of website delinquency and hope you’ll forgive my absence from the blog. Simply stated, summer has been perfectly wonderful and I feel like I’ve achieved the desired balance between indoor/outdoor and mental/physical work. I’m still writing and recording for several hours on most days and am on schedule to post some new songs in August. Just this past week, I finished my wood shed and I’m eager to dig in to the chicken coop project soon. And everyday there is something garden-related that keeps me locally fed, mostly tomatoes and okra of late. It’s all good.
I taught Sunday School this morning for the high school class. It was me and one student, a bright and inquisitive 10th grader named Kiana. We talked about heaven, in keeping with our lesson text from 1 Thessalonians
K: “What do you think we’ll do there?”
Me: “It’s hard to know isn’t it, but i rather think that we’ll work.”
K: “You think we’ll work in heaven? I thought there wasn’t supposed to be anything unpleasant or difficult there.”
Me: “Well, maybe work isn’t unpleasant or difficult. We were created to work, and its original design was one of blessing. Think about it; do you remember when Adam and Eve were in the Garden of Eden, before they disobeyed God and ate the fruit? When everything was still good and God walked with them every day? Before there was any sin in the world?”
Me: “That was life in a still-perfect world, wasn’t it?”
Me: “And what did Adam and Eve do then? How did they spend their days? They worked. They had a job. They were caretakers of the creation around them. In Genesis it says that ‘The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.’ And the work was good, pleasurable, God-honoring. I think we could say that it was even worshipful.”
Me: “But then Adam and Eve messed up, right? And after sin had entered the world, then, and only then did work become cursed, a hardship, a grind. It is pure conjecture on my part but maybe, in heaven, work is restored to what it is supposed to be and it will be a part of our life there. It’s hard to imagine how good it might be, but even now, there are days that I labor and have a deep sense of love for it, whether it’s songwriting work or weeding the garden. And maybe, in some way, that’s why we’re told to work with all our hearts at whatever we do; because it might help to prepare us for our return to the Garden, to ‘Paradise Regained.’ Anyway, it’s just a thought.”
I sleep really well at nights in the present routine. A short bit of reading is usually all it takes to put me under.