There’s a familiar story about a farmer who invited the new preacher to his home for Sunday dinner.
Before the meal, the farmer showed the preacher around his property. It was expansive, modern and very impressive. The preacher irritated the farmer a little because he kept saying, “The Lord has an impressive crop there!” “The Lord sure has blessed you with a beautiful lake there.” “I see The Lord has an outstanding herd of cattle in that pasture.” “That’s a spacious barn the Lord has there.”
Finally, the farmer had heard enough. He said, “Preacher, you should have seen this place when the Lord had it by himself!”
Tomorrow, April 22, is the annual observance of “Earth Day.” It began in 1970 with an emphasis on protecting our environment. Unfortunately, over the years, environmental concerns have become politicized as a left-right issue. It seems there are extremes on both sides.
Actually, the Bible has a good deal to say about the earth and our relationship and responsibility toward it.
God created the world in an undeveloped state. God told Adam and Eve, “I want you to subdue the earth and have dominion over it” (Genesis 1:28). The Psalmist exclaimed, “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein” (Ps 24:1).
In fact, not only the inhabitants worship God, but the earth itself is pictured as quaking in the presence of its Maker. “Oh, worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness! Tremble before Him, all the earth” (Ps 96:9).
Psalm 148 metaphorically depicts the earth and the cosmos praising the Creator. The sun. The moon. The stars. The fish of the sea. The beasts of the field. The birds of the air. They all praise God. And exalt His holy name.
There was a sad time in history when people worshiped and served creation instead of the Creator (Rom. 1:18-25). The apostle Paul said this misplaced adulation led to sinful pride, ungodly attitudes, immoral actions and perverted, unnatural behavior.
While we’re certainly not charging earth day advocates with such extreme attitudes and actions, it does seem to me that there is an inordinate concern over this temporary place we called earth. We are, of course, stewards of our Father’s benevolent blessings. So, these 5 stewardship principles ought to direct our thinking and responsibilities relative to this earth
(1) God is the Owner. The Creator. The Sustainer. The earth is His. Not mine.
(2) I am the manager. The care taker. God has loaned it to me for my use.
(3) I’ve been entrusted with stewardship of all things. Time. Talent. Treasure. Even the earth. God wants me to be a faithful steward.
(4) I honor the owner. Not the things owned.
(5) The earth will end. But heaven is eternal.
As my Mom used to say, ” We’re not put here on this earth to live forever!” It’s temporal. Temporary. And one day will terminate in destruction. I believe in global warming. The Bible says at the end of time the earth will be burned up and the elements will melt with fervent heat! (2 Pet. 3:10-11)
One writer said every day ought to be earth day. I agree. Every day let’s thank God for this world in which we live. Let’s appreciate it. Enjoy it. And be good stewards of God’s creation.
So, as I live on this earth, I will be warmed by its sunshine and be thankful for the nourishing rain. I will eat of its fruit. The grain. And the vegetables. And yes, even the animals that God gave us not only for food, but for clothing.
Earth’s bounty. It’s all good. It’s all from God. Enjoy “earth day” everyone!
–Ken Weliever, The Preacherman