Christians have a common saying: “This world is not our home, we’re just passing through.” We even sing about it.
But this doesn’t mean we should just sit in our basements waiting for Jesus to return. God has made this beautiful Earth, and it’s our job to love it and look after it — and the people in it, too.
A few years ago, I felt a tug on my heart to get out of the office. Like, really get out. I wanted, no needed, to be immersed in God’s green earth for a while. So, I quit my job and went with one of my best friends to the most magical place of all: the Shire. Or as it’s more commonly known, New Zealand. We dubbed our six-month working holiday “One With the Earth,” and it was our goal to spend as much time getting our hands dirty as possible.
Though most of our adventures were marred by failure and mishap, the trip taught me the joy and hardship that comes from tilling the ground. I appreciate the food I put into my mouth that much more now that I’ve experienced firsthand the sweat and prayers that go into putting it on the table. And throughout the months I spent enjoying his creation, God continually pointed me back to him. I was able to spend most of those six months in utter marvel at the work of his hands. It was one of the most restorative times of my life.
Caring for the environment should come naturally for Christians. If God is truly transforming us, our hearts will care for what he cares about: the Earth and everything in it.
Over and over again in Scripture, we read about how much God loves his creation. God created the world, saying, “It is good.” Everything on the Earth — not only humans, but trees and the waters and animals and the sky — points to his glory.
When it comes to environmentalism, Christians should be the ones leading the charge. So how is it that so many of us are so indifferent to what is happening to the world our Father created for us and asked us to care for? We’re either ignorant of the devastation we’re causing by our over-consumption, or we’re deliberately turning our backs on the God-given responsibility we have to steward the Earth.
And I’m lumping myself in this category, too. If I do not constantly remind myself that I should care about his creation, that God wants me to care, I find it so easy to settle back into complacency. Routine takes over. My consumption-driven culture wins.
Katherine Hayhoe, a leading Christian climate change scientist, makes this argument: “If you believe that God created the world, and basically gave it to humans as this incredible gift to live on, then why would you treat it like garbage? Treating the world like garbage says a lot about how you think about the person you believe created the Earth.”
Having respect for what God has created is vital to the Christian faith. He’s given us the responsibility to rule over the earth as caregivers, to rule it as God does: with tenderness and love.
The way we live our lives, the way we care for the Earth and everyone in it, is meant to give glory to God. So let’s get out of our basements and spend some time enjoying what God has made. Let’s ask him to remind us of our responsibility to his creation. And then let’s act accordingly!