Genesis 2:8-15 (KJV) When we consider our vision of “forming communities”, it is always good to take a look at what is usually found at the heart of a healthy community. For most people, a community is established around something that is a common place – perhaps a school or a local park or even the local church. However I would hazard a guess that not many would think of the businesses located close by as being an inherent part of forming a healthy or unhealthy community. Let’s think about that for a moment. What is God’s view on work and business? Well, often when I want to understand His will, I will “go to the garden”. Before mankind chose the disobedient path, God outlined a purpose for us when Adam was instructed to “tend and keep” the garden that God had placed them in. To tend something requires us to work, whereas to keep something is to guard it.

For most, the work place is something that facilitates us paying our bills or putting food on the table. For many going to work can be seen as more of a place of toil for them, However, we see that God’s purpose is for work to be about tending, not toiling. Perhaps for some of us, this requires a new way of thinking. God works throughout history and He is very interested in business. Jesus regularly speaks of work and business, and often with positive regard. I love how he takes the produce of someone’s hard work, the loaves and fish, and uses them to help the community. It becomes a partnership between God and His creation.

So what has this got to do with where I work and how does this create a healthy community? Well, we all have our own “loaves and fish” (the produce of our work or service) and God can use them to form a healthy community. Remember God instructed Adam to not only tend but to keep his garden and a result of doing both, mankind would see the garden flourish and be fruitful. So dare I say that wherever you find yourself, whatever workplace (or even place of looking for work), consider this as your garden. Do you “keep it”? Do you pray for the success of the place you work at and do you pray for the businesses in your local area? You will find that as local businesses flourish, the people “tending” them will also benefit and this leads to a sense of worth and well-being, within the local community. So, as your day starts or ends, I challenge each of you to tend and keep your place of work or service and also to guard them through prayer. As God instructed Adam to guard Eden, so He challenges us to keep the enemy away from our local businesses, which in turn will see your community strengthened and flourish. Use your prayer effectively to guard your local businesses within your community..