The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. (Gen. 2:9 NIV)

November is usually known as a time for remembering the abundant blessings God has given. It is a time to remember God’s faithfulness to bring the rain and grow the produce. I was struck with Genesis 2:9 while thinking of this concept, “the Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground.”

God had abundantly blessed Adam and Eve. He had given them different varieties of trees for their enjoyment, pleasure, and sustenance. In the middle of all that diversity, “were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.”In order to get to the middle of the garden, they surely had to walk past the creative bounty of trees: apples, oranges, almonds, pecans, bananas, figs, apricots, etc. Once in the middle of the garden, they encountered two trees which are called by name: the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The tree of life offered eternal life (Gen. 3:22) and the tree of knowledge of good and evil offered death (3:3). One of them was permissible to eat; the other forbidden.

Instead of focusing on the bounty, they focused on their one “lack” – the fruit from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. They were tempted by the one thing they could not have. Satan, the deceiver, convinced Adam and Eve that filling this lack would be beneficial, “You will become like God, knowing good and evil” which led “the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”

Surrounded by bounty, Adam and Eve wanted just “one more thing”. This led to temptation, sin, and death – a broken relationship with God.  We need this reminder! We are surrounded by God’s bounty in our lives. Unfortunately, we are constantly being nagged by our “lacks”. We can choose to rejoice in the Lord for all He has given us and trust in His goodness (which will lead to worship and eternal life), or ignore God’s bounty and focus on what we “lack” (which leads to broken relationship with God).

To make this relevant to us – God has given us a new tree of life to choose – Jesus Christ. He was placed on a tree and now offers us the fruit of His labor… a repaired relationship with God! Take and eat, take and drink, from the New Covenant that God offers. In Him, you have the fruit of the tree of life. In Him, you are not “lacking”!

Are you focusing on what you don’t have? Are you ignoring God’s bounty and leading yourself into temptation and sin? This November, take the time to thank God for His abundant blessings in your life. Focusing on the bountiful blessings given to us in Christ (read Eph. 1) will minimize the focus on what we don’t have. Only then will our life find contentment, gratitude, worship, and eternal life – the heart of true thanksgiving.

In Christ,

Pr. Patrick