This Sunday, I was listening to the preacher, and he was talking through the first few chapters in Genesis. When he got to the part about Adam and Eve eating the fruit, he told a quick story. I have heard it before. This version was of an older farm hand named Moses who was chopping out a tree stump. The ranch owner walked by while Moses was complaining that all his hard work was Adam’s fault. “If he’d of just stayed away from that tree, we’d all have been better off.”
At this, the ranch owner relieved him of all his duties. “You can do anything you like on the ranch. Every room is open to you and all I have is yours. Only one thing, there is a box on the mantle, don’t open it.”
Moses lived the high life for a while, but eventually the thought of this box started to creep into his mind. After some time, Moses eventually could not restrain himself any longer and he opened it. Inside lay a note that read, “Get back to work Moses. You’re no better than he was.”
It’s a good story with a great point. It got me thinking about something that has been running through my mind for quite some time.
Why do people, myself included, have such a problem taking responsibility for our lives? Old Moses was blaming Adam for his troubles, when deep inside, he was dealing with the same root issues as. It’s almost like a majority of Christianity believes we lost something when Adam took a bite of the forbidden fruit. I just can’t see it. You could go on about position, relationship, fellowship, etcetera, and how it all changed, but I don’t believe we lost anything. We couldn’t have, because to lose something, you first have to possess it.
I believe that it is God who lost out in the deal. We are his creation, and through no fault of His own, we have broken ties with Him. There is another story, a parable of Jesus, that relates what happened very well; the prodigal son. If you are not familiar with it, you can read the details in Luke 15.
Basically, a son asks his father for his inheritance so that he can make his own way with it. He gets a place in the city and parties it up until his money is gone. His friends all turn on him and the only job he can find is cleaning after pigs. He decides that he will go home and be a servant at his dad’s house. While he is on the road to his dad’s house, still a ways off, his dad sees him coming down the road. The father runs to him and embraces him. His son was home.
I have heard many different interpretations of this, and some great sermons bringing out different points. The main point, mentioned twice in the story, is that the son was lost, but now is found: was dead but is now alive. It was not at any part of the story about the son losing something. He never had anything of himself. The money and the freedom to spend it came from his father. The son was irresponsible with the gift he was given, but never was it his loss, it was the fathers. And it was not the father’s fault that the inheritance was lost.
Yes, as a result of Adam taking the great gift he was given and casting it aside for his own satisfaction, we are all now lost sons, but we have not lost anything. My troubles are the product of my own decisions, not Adam’s. The responsibility lies solely with me. One day when I stand before God, I will not be able to say, “Sorry I was a lying, blaspheming, adulterous murder. It was Adam’s fault for eating the fruit.” He would just look at me, and convict me with my own words. I am what I am because I choose to be so. My life is the result of my own decisions: good or bad.
The Father longs for our relationship with Him to be restored; he wants us to come home. The great thing about returning home is that something deep inside already knows the way. So many times I have said the words, “God come to me,” all the while He is saying, “Just come home, I am waiting.” The right of passage has been secured through His son Jesus, and when we do finally come to the end of our own selfish ambitions to make the decision to return to Him, He embraces us with the words, “My son was lost, but now is found: was dead but is now alive.”