A man and his wife lived on a hillside. The man built bird hides in the garden, shielding them from the summer sun and the cool breezes of winter; he nurtured trees and grew flowers and herbs to provide nectar and seeds for food; and he knew the beauty of birds and birdsong every morning.
Some birds became permanent residents and built their nests there. Others visited from the higher hills and outer plains.
The original owner of the land had told him to look after the garden and gave instruction about his responsibilities. He was to give careful attention to peace and security and was warned that he must give no access to any predator.
So the man and his wife encouraged the stunning array of colour and song by nailing many little plastic tubs to a tree near the house and filling them with bird seed. They set a water dish in the shade so that any thirsty bird could refresh itself and sometimes the birds would plunge right into the water in a complete baptism.
The man and his wife would take their breakfast at a nearby table and chairs to watch the birds and communicate with them.
Some of his birds became so friendly they would sit on the table while he and his wife took breakfast and chat bird-chat with them so that eating together became an event they enjoyed.
They all ignored the predator that lurked watchfully back in the bushes. Silently, it saw the warmth of friendship between the man and his wife and their bird companions and it came nearer. It made soft sounds and displayed itself as a gentle cat purring and seeking a friendship or all to see.
The garden folk became used to the predator’s closeness and peace continued as usual. Discord was not an option in this gentle garden.
One morning the man remembered the garden at the back of his home needed attention so instead of having breakfast with his wife and his bird friends, he put breakfast hour aside and left his wife there alone to share breakfast with the birds,. While he was in the mood to do so, he went out of sight to the back of his home to tend the other garden.
One of the birds waited on the table where the man usually took breakfast and the predator pounced. There was a shrill cry from all the birds as they scattered in horror but the predator had his kill.
The man heard the disturbance and rushed back to his wife at the table. He saw the dead bird, the Crimson Rosella, but the husband and wife had a mental picture that the predator posed an innocent smile and offered the husband one of the brilliant blue bird feathers. He accepted and dramatically an old historical book came alive.
Words from the old Book echoed through the garden. “Yeah, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: but of the tree in the midst of the garden, God said, Ye shall not eat of it…”
But how could the gift offered with a smile, be refused? Would it not be an offense to refuse it? Could it be right to refuse the friendliness of even an enemy?
But in the responsibility given to mankind, the Lord warned him to reject what He, God, had not given, Genesis 2:16,17. They must not eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil
It was then that something like an electrical shock rang through the birds in the trees and through the husband and wife. And the eyes of them both were opened.
While the silence of grief settled over the garden, they imagined the Lord God, walking up the path to visit, and God’s calling out, “Adam, where are you?” But Adam had negated his responsibility. He failed in his promise that he and his wife together, would continue what God had established and keep it up to standard. Instead, he chose to indulge his own interests and leave his wife alone. The predator struck. Then in a panic to cover his own neglect, he had joined his wife in accepting the forbidden food.
Singlehandedly, he destroyed the culture established by the Creator for this whole world.
Singlehandedly, Christ restored an understanding of God’s culture. Would you please give thanks for His grace every time you pray?
(To access the entire “Culture Close Up” mini-series, please click here.)