God has entrusted us with the mandate to cultivate and develop the Earth. The trick is to see how our work now not only recalls the work God mandated in the beginning, but anticipates the work God requires at the end. As we see this, our work becomes a kind of prayer, sanctified by our imagination and offered up to God as praise.

There’s an old Jewish legend about a rabbi who was asked which was better: the things God made or the things we make. The rabbi knew the question was coming and had both hands behind his back, nodding thoughtfully at his questioner. When the time came to respond, the rabbi produced his hands. In one, he held an ear of corn; in the other, he held a cake. “God made one,” he said, “and I made the other, but which would you rather eat?”

God made everything we need to make everything we need. God gave us the raw materials we need to develop the world into a perfect habitat for humanity. God supplied enough food, water, soil, and clean air to sustain a population far greater than what we currently entertain. God gifted humanity with intelligence, reason, and curiosity enough to figure out how to move forward from the garden to the city.

We need to build, to enhance, to elaborate, to develop, and to cultivate. Somebody’s gotta bring a bottle of wine to dinner if we’re gonna toast one another’s successes, celebrate each other’s company, and linger long after the table has been cleared.

And worship entails baking bread and making wine. After all, you can’t have the Eucharist with a fistful of grapes.

Adapted from Why God Died