17 Apr Stewardship of God’s Creation
How beautiful it is, to be in a lush green surrounding, enjoying the colors of the flowers, hearing the birds chirp, feeling the gentle breeze, looking at the far mountains and saying, “Praise the name of the LORD, what a great Creator He is!
It is true, that nature, provides the best setting for worshiping the Creator. In other settings, we will have to imagine more than seeing and feeling, to be able to worship naturally.
However, unfortunately, such settings are becoming extinct. It is a sad sight to watch God’s beautiful creation getting ravaged by human sinfulness.
The glorious beginning
Genesis 1: 31 -2:1 “God saw all that He had made and it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning the sixth day. Thus, the skies and the earth were completed in all their vast array” – What a glorious beginning!
No poetic expression will be enough to describe the wonders and beauty of God’s great creation. The more we get into its intricacies, the more we find God’s great wisdom and creativity manifested in it!
The Call for Creation Care
Humankind got their first appointment letter (call to work) in Genesis 2: 15 “The LORD took man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and to take care of it.”
The Hebrew usage for ‘to work’ is “aw-wad” which also means, to serve, and worship with. And the Hebrew usage for ‘to take care of’ is “sa-maar”. It is interesting to note that the same Hebrew word ‘’sa-maar’’ is used when God tells Israelites, “Keep” my Commandments (as many as 59 times in Deuteronomy; example : Deuteronomy 4:2- “you shall not add to the word which I am commanding you, nor take away from it, that you may KEEP the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you”
Further, as image bearers of God, to His creation, we reflect a responsibility of representing Him, and His caring nature. L T Jeyachandran used to ask a question, “what would have been the thoughts in the mind of a Tiger, when humankind ran a save-the tiger campaign?” Obviously, the human feeling to save the tiger comes from the ‘image’ that the creator installed in us.
The ravaged creation today – that exposes human sinfulness and the exploitative nature of human greed
The world is no more as beautiful, as it was originally, when created by God. The unsustainable ways of development and lifestyle is costing humankind beyond recovery. Yet, even after knowing and reeling through the pains of environmental issues and climate change, humankind is not relenting. It is important that we wake up, and be on guard as stewards, of God’s creation, with a sense of urgency.
The pollution and the biodiversity loss that is happening at a fast pace, are also breaking the beautiful ecosystem. God created the ecosystem as an interdependent chain of cooperation, and co-existence. The loss of biodiversity is one of the biggest threats to the ecosystem itself. The flora and the fauna are now groaning for their deliverance; to be cared for, by us. Romans 8:18-27 describes the groaning of God’s creation, and our call to involve, sigh and pray. And when we do so, the Spirit of God too, joins us, in our groaning.
What then shall we do today, recapturing our Gen 2:15 responsibility?
We live in a time, where God’s beautiful planet is being destroyed, at a faster pace, than ever. Unfortunately, directly, and indirectly we all are part of this destruction.
Revelation 11: 18 says, “The nations were angry, and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets, and your people who revere your name, both great and small—and for destroying those who destroy the earth”.
It is important to note here that the judgment as it unfolds in Revelation 11 :18, is also for destroying the destroyers of earth- God’s beautiful creation. We need to take conscious efforts to ensure that our lifestyle will not be contributing to the destruction of the planet. As people of God, at a generation as ours, let us consider the following;
Action 1: Keep worshipping the Lord in natural settings, describing the beauty of His creation and the wisdom therein and His creativity
David wrote in Psalm 19: – “The heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Truly, the wisdom of God as we see in His eco system is beyond human expressions. Its then, when we are trying to find, see and enjoy God’s wisdom and beauty, we get lost in awe and wonder of Him and say from our heart- How great thou art.”
David wrote most of his songs in his journey through natural settings. So did several of God’s people. Yes, we sing in our Sunday school, If I were a butterfly, I thank you Lord for my good wings and if I were a robin in a tree, I thank you Lord that I could sing, etc . . . But, beyond that, can we describe of God’s intrinsic wisdom in the Creation that we see? When we have our worship sessions in natural settings, that will transform us beyond that we can imagine in our closed room settings. Let us take our worship sessions to God’s beautiful world, as much as possible, and as often as possible.
Action 2: Develop a lifestyle with Creation care
As worshippers of the God who created and gifted us a resourceful planet, we can’t be mute witnesses to the destruction around. We have to adopt a lifestyle that will reflect a conscious stewardship.
The 5R Principle
• REFUSE- There are certain things we should say NO, to. Some plastic items, single use and throw items, all that which are harmful to God’s planet, which we can refuse, if we can, and switch to natural/eco-friendly options.
• REDUCE- That which we cannot refuse, let us reduce. Reduce usage of things that add to the pollution. Eg; Plastics, paper, fossil fuels etc
• REUSE: – Why do we need so many new things? Why can’t we re-use things, if not, gift to others to use it. There are quite a lot of things that we can give away in each of our homes, to be re-used by others.
• RECYCLE: Recycling is making a new product from old used products. There are quite a lot of things that we can recycle and find new purposes.
• REDEEM: It is about buying or back-taking efforts to redeem the things we are losing at a fast rate. May it be the effort for redeeming bio diversity or even spending an extra amount on redeeming / arresting the loss of a link in the ecosystem. As people of God, there are several collective actions that can be thought about in this category.
Developing a creation care lifestyle calls for conscious actions/ choices as individuals / families/ communities / companies and nations.
Action: 3 – Consider WORK/ CAREERS with a Creation Care Perspective
There is an urgent need in the world for more creation-care professionals, who will infuse the stewardship of God’s creation in their respective fields. The Govt. of India is actively promoting environmental stewardship through concepts of Green GDP, Social Stock Exchanges, BRSR (Business Responsibility & Sustainability Report), the thrust for renewable energy, the call for net zero, ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) and several similar practices. Accordingly, several new needs and opportunities are emerging.
God is looking for professionals to work on sustainability and Sustainable Development Goals. With the training in any field, we can integrate the Biblical call for the Stewardship of Creation.
May God find us as good stewards of His creation in our generation.
Betsy & Reji Koshy
Betsy, a creation care enthusiast, is currently serving as Creation Care Co –Ordinator (Hon) with Interserve India, equipping missions for environment stewardship, along with a host of home-based endeavors. Reji, a sustainability professional, is currently serving as Head- Sustainable Banking at ESAF SMALL FINANCE BANK. Reji & Betsy make their home in Pune and are members of Pune EGF.