God’s green earth
The environment is a hot topic lately (pun intended). Everybody is “going green” and worried about their “carbon footprint,” which can’t be a bad thing—can it? The environment is, after all, God’s creation. So what is our responsibility as children of God and followers of Jesus Christ to the environment?
When God created us He gave us a job description. In Genesis 2:15 (NIV) it says, “The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” We were made to manage the resources that God put on the earth. And we’re responsible for using them wisely.
For instance, God provides the forest and says, “I want you to take care of the forest.” We can use the trees, but the problem is we often take what we want out of greed, not out of need. We need to be wise in what we use, wise in how we manage, wise in the ways we use the earth’s resources.
I love the hymn “This is my Father’s World.” It’s a beautiful song about how God created the world and how the world belongs to Him. We sing it, but do we treat the earth as if it belongs to God? Are we caring for the environment the way God wants us to?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average American produces about 4.4 pounds of garbage a day, or a total of 29 pounds per week, and 1,600 pounds a year. This does not take into account industrial waste or commercial trash. With the garbage produced in America, we could bury more than 990,000 football fields under six feet of waste. Paper waste makes up 35 percent of the total material filling up landfills. It takes 1000 years for a water bottle to degrade. Landfills are filling up. We need to stop creating so much trash.
God wants us to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. We live in a fallen, broken world. It is broken because of sin. And our sin continues to have devastating effects on all of creation. In fact, the Bible says that creation groans with pain.
Romans 8:20-22 (NLT) says, “Against its will, everything on earth was subjected to God’s curse. All creation anticipates the day when it will join God’s children in glorious freedom from death and decay. For we know that all creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time.”
When Adam and Even sinned everything on earth was cursed. The corruption introduced into God’s creation by sin made an impact on all of nature, so that even the power of nature was corrupted from God’s original plan.
Scientists call this the “second law of thermodynamics.” That law states that everything in this universe is decaying. What seems fresh and new one day will someday be old and broken down. The Biblical term for the second law of thermodynamics is simply this: God’s curse—death and decay.
The good news is God is the Great Recycler, and you and I are proof of it. God is into recycling things that most people don’t think have any use anymore. He’s into restoring things that are broken—like us. He’s all about recycling, about taking us from a trashed state and turning us into a renewed state.
The story of Noah is a great example of the redemptive process that God wants to work in creation and in our personal lives. It shows us that God has a heart for His creation. He didn’t want it all to be destroyed and lost by the flood. He wanted to preserve it and save it.
Noah is a Biblical example of environmental stewardship. God gave Noah an assignment to ensure that God’s creatures would be preserved when the flood came. God can use us to preserve creation like He used Noah. How? What could you do that would make a difference? Take the simple first steps. Noah started building the massive ark—a ship the size of the Titanic—with a single board. He picked up the first board and the first nail and he started pounding away at the problem. That’s what we can do too.
Maybe for you the first step would be to start recycling. Maybe it would be to stop drinking bottled water and start drinking water out of a refillable container. One less bottle makes a difference. Maybe your first step is to start using energy more efficiently. It starts by taking the simple first steps. You can make a difference. Thank you for doing your part to take care of God’s green earth.
Pastor Barry Briggs
The Springs Church
Corner of Oak/Grant, Cedar Springs