Planet Earth is always changing, and that is a part of life. But some of the changes, such as climate change and diminishing resources like forests and fresh water, are hurting us and our witness to others. It’s easy to get caught up in the cycles of consumerism and forget about the ways our lifestyle impacts everything God made. But when we forget to take care of creation, we are disobeying God’s commands from Genesis.
“And God blessed them. And God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.’… And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day” (Genesis 1:28, 31).
God’s first command to mankind was to be fruitful, multiply, and to take care of the Earth he made, which was very good. He made the Earth for us to live and grow in, and we have to be good stewards of it so that we can continue to do these things. The Earth is our home right now, and we should cherish it.
The Earth is not just good for us because it’s our current home, it’s good because it reveals God’s presence to believers and unbelievers alike. We know that “The heavens declare the glory of God, and the sky above proclaims his handiwork” (Psalm 19:1).
What we see in nature is a revelation of God’s creative power and glory, and is also a revelation of the gospel. When we enjoy the Earth we can learn about who God is and what he is like. Enjoying the Earth can help believers draw nearer in relationship with God, and it can help unbelievers find somewhere to start. Paul talks about the witness nature gives, and how God’s creation exposes his eternal power. He writes,
“For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse” (Romans 1:19-20).
As Job declares to his friends,
“But ask the beasts, and they will teach you; the birds of the heavens, and they will tell you; or the bushes of the earth, and they will teach you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you. Who among all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every living thing and the breath of all mankind” (Job 12:7-10).
If nature is so incredible that it glorifies God and draws people nearer to him, shouldn’t we protect it?
The Earth is suffering because of our careless attitudes toward resources. We should be taking care of what we have because it was left in our care and it can help us as we bring the gospel to the ends of the earth.
Here are a few ways we can be good stewards of creation:
Strive to buy products that are produced ethically, fairly traded, and have minimal environmental impact. Try looking into businesses, like Jesus’ Economy, that are honest about the materials they use and how they use them.
Did you know that most plastic is produced only to be thrown away, and because of this, a truckload of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute? And this doesn’t account for what is thrown into landfills or even sent elsewhere to be recycled. Regardless, we are using too much plastic. Consider cutting out single-use plastics from your life and recycle all you can. Buy a few reusable bags for groceries and pack your lunch in glassware instead of plastic wrap. Thrift shopping is also a great way to reduce waste.
This one is simple. Get outside and look at what God made for us and for him. Take a break from work, technology, and those little life stresses and go rest in creation. It will be refreshing and it can be a wonderful retreat to grow closer to God.
God created the world for us to live in and care for, and sometimes we get wrapped up in the living part and forget the caring part. But I encourage you to care for creation in all the ways you can, and see how you get to know God better as you do.