In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earthgenesis 1:1 [niv]
You may have heard the phrase, ‘we are stewards of the Earth’. But what does this mean? The definition of stewardship is simply: the job of supervising or taking care of something. When we receive a gift from someone we become stewards of it, we treasure, love, and care for it. We don’t disregard it’s importance or meaning. Neither do we disrespect or destroy it. How much more should we treasure a gift from God?
So my question for us is, why is creation an exception?
The maker of everything that has been and will be, gave us this Earth and we are accountable to Him for how we use it. Right from the very beginning of the Bible in the first book, Genesis, we read the creation story. Which is how, after God brought everything into existence, He created Adam, the first man. The Bible says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it” – Genesis 2:15 [NIV]. With this gift came the responsibility, to be stewards of the world. We should seek the well-being of everything God has entrusted to us – including creation, both collectively and individually.
So why this topic, and why now?
1) The concentrations of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere are the highest they have ever been.
2) Since 2000 we have experienced most of the warmest years recorded.
3) Eleven percent of all global greenhouse gas emissions caused by humans are a result of deforestation.
The list goes on, and unfortunately science does not lie…
A global crisis. Not to mention we are in the middle of a global pandemic.
But praise God, there is so much beauty despite all of this. Since Covid-19, environmentally, there have been incredible changes. I’m not in anyway suggesting that the coronavirus is anything but awful, however the global change on the level we have witnessed is so radical that only an immediate and existential threat like Covid-19 could have led to it. Pollution and greenhouse gas emissions have fallen across continents. This is such a profound change that happened so fast, we should see it as a huge encouragement now, and moving forward.
Change is possible, and it’s possible quickly!
Times of change can also lead to the introduction of lasting habits. Habits that are coincidentally good for the climate, such as travelling less or, perhaps, cutting down on food waste as we experience shortages due to panic buying. As we first hand experience the vulnerability of life, as any control we thought we had seems non-existent, lets remember the God who is always in control, even in a global pandemic! Lets choose to see these positives, amidst the chaos, and environmentally lets take these habits we are making into the future, to continue to see change.
In a generally consumerist and individualistic society the view of climate change is not a reality we want to face. We don’t want to compromise our luxuries, the way of life we know. Because change is scary, and sacrifice is hard. But we must look beyond ourselves, it is the future we are endangering, the lives of the children we may have, and the lives of those who are not so fortunate.
There are some things money cannot buy, two of which are: time and a new world.
Urgent change must take place NOW. There is a lot of content on social media, but how much of that is actually practically impacting our lives? We see posts that show the devastation that our mistreatment of the planet is causing and our hearts break, but how many of us, if we are honest with ourselves, do anything at all about it? I know I am a hypocrite when it comes to this! To think we should do something, and then to actually do it physically are two very different things.
My message today is that: thinking the right things is not enough.
Our personal response is more powerful than we can ever imagine and I hope you can be hugely encouraged! Your individual life is special and powerful, a beautiful purpose filled, God given gift. Use it. We are all catalysts. Catalysts of change, both spiritual and physical. Let us be at the forefront of change. I believe God has called us all to be environmental activists in our own way, which aligns with our gifting. For some it will be with words, others with actions, some on a global level, for others within their church, school, or work. Every way is equally beautiful and important. So what is your way?
The time has come for us to carefully seek to learn all that the Bible teaches us about the Creator, creation, and stewardship of His world. “The highest heavens belong to the Lord, but the earth He has given to mankind.” – Psalm 115:16 [NIV].