Let’s imagine that you get a call one day from Bill Gates, America’s richest person. He is going out of town for a while and wants to invite you to stay in his home while he is away. You can live there as if it is your own home, he tells you. He wants to know that someone will enjoy the many amenities of his home even when he cannot be there.
Would you show up and track mud all over the floors, spill grape juice on the carpets, or allow your cat to pee in Bill’s closet? Of course not; most of us would tiptoe around the place, feeling terrified of breaking anything. We might eventually grow comfortable enough to relax, but I doubt we would ever abuse or misuse Bill’s belongings.
I use this analogy to illustrate what God has done for us when blessing us with the planet earth. This is a beautiful, amazing place the Lord has given us in which to live. In Genesis chapter 1, God twice states that man is to have dominion over the earth. This is in both Genesis 1:26 and again in Genesis 1:28.
…fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.– Gen 1:28 (NJKV)
My Thomas Nelson commentary teaches that “have dominion” means to rule as God would rule and that to “subdue” means to run things as God planned. This does not mean the earth is ours; we are simply custodians. You can see this in Exodus and Psalms:
The earth is the LORD's, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein. – Psalms 24:1 (NKJV)
… the thunder will cease, and there will be no more hail, that you may know that the earth is the LORD's. – Exodus 9:29 (NKJV)
For this reason, I believe that Christians should tread lightly on this earth. We should treat it better than we’d treat Bill Gate’s Barcalounger. A good place to start is by just being aware of our own impact. The next time you dry your hands with a paper towel, ask yourself whether you could have dried your hands with half the amount of towel. Give your hands a little shake first, you’ll be amazed at how little you actually need! Think about each thing you throw away and ask yourself whether there was a more environmentally friendly alternative you could have used. Reduce, reuse, recycle isn’t just for greenies – it is also for those in whom our Lord has entrusted the care of our pre-Heaven home. Let’s honor God by being gentle to this beautiful, temporary home He has given us.
Posted on Sun, September 30, 2012
by Shawnna Casazza filed under