In the 90’s, during a time when my wife Lori and I were prospering in business, we were able to purchase two weeks of a timeshare on the Island of Maui in Hawaii. This means that for the past twenty-plus years we have been able to vacation in Polynesian paradise very inexpensively. Both of us love sunshine, water, and sand between our toes, so every year our retreat there feels as if we have stepped out of the world and into the Garden of Eden.
While in the islands, you will often hear people referring to it as paradise, which makes sense because the term “paradise” actually means “an ideal location, a place of beauty, wonder, and bliss.” This is why the Garden of Eden is also commonly referred to as Paradise, because it was the garden of delights, which is the literal meaning of Eden.
One of the things we love to do on our vacation is to simply walk on the beach, listen to the waves, and watch them majestically break on the shore. The beauty of the colors seems almost intoxicating as the deep blue of the water blends into another shade of blue in the sky. Along the edge of the beach are palm trees, manicured lawns, and plants with amazing arrays of gorgeous flowers. One morning as we walked, Lori commented that the grounds of our resort were stunning and that it must be what the future paradise of the restored earth will look like.
That’s when I had the thought, ‘That may be true, but it only looks like this because someone is taking care of paradise.”
The reality is that everything there looked so nice because there were groundskeepers, gardeners, and all manner of workers who were tending to things. Left to its own, even Polynesia will resort back to places with prickly thorns and dead vegetation. Even in the Garden of Eden, God commanded Adam to “keep it,” meaning that he had the job of tending to it.
Every one of us desires paradise, but like all the things in our lives, we must steward what we have and tend to things if we ever want to enjoy the fullness of what we’ve been given. If you want great relationships with others, then you have to “take care” of them. If you want to get ahead at your workplace, then “tend” to it. In other words, the reason “paradise” looks so beautiful is because someone is “taking care of paradise.”