The heavens belong to the Lord, but he has given the earth to all humanity. — Psalm 115:16 (NLT)
What on earth was God thinking of when He told us this: whilst the heavens are His, He has given the earth to humanity. He decided this right at the beginning, when He told Adam and Eve:
The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.
Genesis 2:15 (NLT)
Later, after they had disobeyed God and eaten the forbidden fruit, they were banished from the garden to look after the earth:
… to cultivate the ground from which he [Adam] had been made.
[Text in brackets by author] Excerpt Genesis 3:23 (NLT)
And we’ve been looking after it since then. All the earth, the ground, the fields, the trees, the animals, the fish, the birds; and everything else you can think of. We are stewards of our planet. And how are we doing?
Global warming, plastics overwhelming the seas, polluting the atmosphere, causing deforestation, and while sea levels rise we are running out of water and food for the relentless increase in our population. Our selfishness is seeing the loss of habitats, of flora and fauna, of animal species; we just don’t seem to care. Even where groups of people get together to try and protect our natural world and our animal species, others just trample over and disregard or even work against them. Just like this family, out for the day, at a place called Angel Bay. In the Bay, seals are known to breed and give birth to pups, and signs have been erected to help prevent them from being disturbed, asking people not to walk past the signs. These adults not only disregarded the signs completely, walking past them without a second look, they are teaching their children to do the same.
Are we good stewards of our planet? Sadly, the statistics seem to show that we are far from being good stewards. We simply don’t care enough about our planet and the natural world around us. One day, it will be gone. Sadly, when that day comes, we will all wonder, why?
You know, one day, everything will change for the better, despite our best efforts to destroy it all! From messing it all up in Genesis, the first book of the Bible, to God’s promise to us in the last book of the Bible, Revelation; He has a plan. He knew that we would mess up in the garden, and He knows that we will mess up the world He created for us. All the evidence is there. But one day, He will make things better.
Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the old heaven and the old earth had disappeared.
Excerpt Revelation 21:1 (NLT)
That’s His promise for our lives too. No matter how much we have messed up, He is ready and willing and wanting to forgive us. After all, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, into the world to die so as to pay the price for all our wrongs. He paid for me, and He paid for you; He paid for us all.
But despite knowing all that, despite knowing that one day the world will be made into a better place, couldn’t we at least try to make this one a little bit better in the meantime? That might mean missing out on a 50 metre walk down to sea level to avoid disturbing the seals. Would that be such a sacrifice? It might also mean taking some practical new steps at home to reduce pollution, or taking steps to balance out your carbon footprint perhaps? There are many simple ways we can make our world a little bit better today and for our children tomorrow. After all, when they visit Angel Bay with their children, 20 or 30 years from now, who knows whether the seals will still be there, or whether they will have been chased away by the constant flow of visitors ignoring the red signs?
May we pray: Thank You, Lord, for the earth You have given us. Forgive us for the mess we have made of it! Help us find new ways in our own lives, to make this world a better place for ourselves and for our children. We ask this in the precious name of our Saviour, Christ Jesus; Amen.
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