As Christians, we believe and testify that that beautiful creation is God's design and production. Genesis 1:31 (NIV) says, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good."
Even following the filthy stain of sin, God's beauty remained on His creation. The first couple no longer enjoyed the perfect garden; yet they still prospered under God's care out in the land.
Sin continued to grow and eventually God flooded the earth. Nevertheless, in the process, He salvaged humans and animals. And note that although He flooded the earth, He chose to re-establish and populate it rather than annihilate and start over.
As the water dried, plants bloomed, and animals spread across the earth, God said to Noah . . ."I now establish my covenant with you and with your descendents after you and with every living creature . . . on earth." Genesis 9:9-10 (NIV)
God cares for all of creation and life - reasoning humans, swinging monkeys, bolting leopards, slothful sloths, grazing moose, playful otters, schooling fish, silent plants, grand mountains, deserted deserts, crying babies, youthful teens, achieving adults, bedridden elderly . . . God loves His handiwork. He even keeps an eye on the sparrow. ("And I know He watches me.")
Throughout Scripture, God tells you and me to live our lives striving to act, think, be, and love like Him. One way we can do just that is to love His creation and to treat it in such a way that demonstrates our love for Him.
Too often men and women use our God-given dominion over nature as license to abuse the earth. Russell A. Butkus, a professor of theology, comments . . .
"Dominion . . . does not mean to exploit or destroy but to exercise care and responsibility for God's domain . . ." (Christian Reflection Journal - "Moral Landscape of Creation" - p. 20)
Wise use of God's gifts in all areas of our lives is known as faithful stewardship. You are called, as a child of God, to practice faithful stewardship with all of creation.
From the early days of my childhood, my grandfather and father taught me how to hunt deer, turkey, and quail and how to catch catfish, trout, and bass. During these lessons, they also engrained another message . . . "Never shoot or kill anything you are not going to eat."
Notice - they taught me dominion and stewardship.
In college, my roommate invited me to visit his family ranch. On the ranch, they had a small pond also known as a fish tank. Turtles also called that tank home. My roommate and his dad loaded 22 caliber rifles and used the turtles for target practice. They handed me a 22. I refused. Why? Because my family taught me dominion and stewardship.
In my Scouting days, our troop leaders pounded another message into our heads. "Leave the campsite better than you found it." We picked up other people's trash! Of course, I hated it then; but I am grateful for the lesson.
Your day-to-day words about creation and your actions toward it lay the groundwork for the perception that your children and/or those within your influence will hold about ecological stewardship. Do you carelessly toss trash? Do you shoot animals with no intention other than to kill? Do you leave campsites better than you found them? And perhaps most importantly, do you see these questions as relevant to your Christian walk?
In our day, we encounter those who value environment over human life. They intentionally harm individuals who legally harvest forest and mineral resources. That is not the path to take. We need resources and we need conservation. God calls on His children to do their part in committing to both.
One focuses on progress alone; another seeks restraint alone; neither one is correct. God does not intend for you and me to stomp on the earth carelessly; nor does He like to see humans placing animals and plants above humanity. It is precisely because we are higher than all other creatures that we have the responsibility to care for them and for the earth.
You make a difference every time you care about God's creation.
In the final chapter of scripture, which depicts our future home in glory, John speaks of visions of the tree of life, fruit crops, and flowing rivers. That excites me far beyond the news of pearly gates and golden streets. I find great joy in knowing that instead of floating on clouds, we will still enjoy the color green.
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