“And the LORD God took the man, and put him into the garden of Eden to dress it and to keep it.” (Gen. 2:15) Then what? Walk around and look at stuff, explore the area you now inhabit, look for something else to do. What did Adam and Eve do when they were not tending the garden?
Perhaps in a moment when Eve was wondering just that is when Satan showed up, in that moment that arises just before boredom arrives, right before she wondered “Now what.”
Solomon knew this moment and after searching for the elusive continuation of contentment and attempting to assuage that desire of more by doing more, searching for more, experiencing more, he finally understood, “I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and vexation of spirit.” (Eccl. 1:14)
Most of us either are employed or were employed for decades, for the sole purpose of fulfilling the desires and needs of the flesh, “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” (Gen. 3:19) The curse has caused this pursuit of doing all that is necessary to keep the flesh alive and functioning. We labor our entire lives for food, water and shelter, and with the extra money we purchase the things of the world in an attempt to make our lives either more comfortable, more convenient, more than just a day-to-day exercise of remaining alive. We set goals, attain those goals, glory in them for a short period, and then set another goal. All is indeed vanity and vexation of spirit, if that is all your life is.
“For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” (Mark 8:36) This verse speaks of attaining all that the world has to offer in a materialistic sense, owning everything that can be owned, and in part that is true, but it goes much deeper than that, it is attempting to seek contentment in this life. I believe that this is the conclusion that King Solomon came to, for nothing was held from the richest and wisest man of his day, all he desired he could attain, and in the end it was his downfall.
There is no contentment here, there are moments of it when the goal has been reached, when the pursuit has been accomplished, but then we say as our first parents did, “The garden is tended for the day, now what?”
I do not know what heaven is like, no one alive does, we can garner small clues from the Scriptures, Psalm 16:11 tells us of indescribable joy in the presence of the Most High and pleasures without end, but, and I speak as a foolish man here, men need goals. When we are not immediately in His presence, we do not desire to go to the amusement park, as it were, we do indeed seek pleasures, but those pleasures come many times from performing what our King has asked us to do, and then by His power, strength and guidance fulfilling that task, with no vainglory, but only so that He will be glorified.
We need more.
If this was not true, Eve could not have been tempted and Adam would not have fallen, for those who are completely content do not seek for more. I do not believe that we are ever going to be completely content, it is not in our nature, and that is a good thing.
Lucifer was perfect in his ways (Eze. 28:15) when he was created, yet he found discontentment, Adam knew nothing of good and evil before he fell, yet he felt discontentment, the one who attains all the world has to offer will never find contentment.
“In thy presence is fulness of joy.” That is the only place where we can be completely content.
But when the assembly is over in heaven, when we are either sent out to perform a task or experience those pleasures forevermore, we will look for contentment, we will desire a goal, we will seek to accomplish a deed. Here is the truth of 1 Corinthians 2:9 that shows us the inverse of that vanity and vexation of spirit, “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.” It is why we will understand finally and fully Matthew 11:28, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
The man who has tended the garden well that the Lord has set before him, when he has been blessed to hear from his King, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant,” will say to his Lord and Master, “What’s next?”