April 22nd marks Earth Day, a day officially dedicated to an increased awareness of environmental issues.
Now, I have a confession to make: As a Christian, I have struggled with what I’m supposed to do with Earth Day.
You see, I am blown away by the beauty, mystery, and intricacies of this earth we live on. The more I learn about nature: plants and animals, forests and oceans, the more I stand in awe of God’s creative genius. This is why it bothers me to see those who focus on the environment, elevating it to a level of idolatry. So many people worship the creation without any regard for the Creator.
As a reaction to this, I’ve mostly approached Earth Day by, well– doing nothing. If I’m honest, I have mostly stayed out of the conversation.
Sure, I reduce, reuse, and recycle in my little corner of the world, and I teach my kids to do the same. But to say I’ve made the environment a high priority? That would be a lie.
But I know that I could do better. When I consider Genesis (1:28) where God assigns Adam and Eve with the responsibility of ruling over all creation, I realize that was a gift…a privilege. They were given the task of being stewards of this amazing place we call home. Not to abuse it and trash it, but to care for it out of love for the One who made it.
So indeed, we don’t have to choose between God or the environment. We can choose to worship God, and steward the Creation He has entrusted us with as an act of gratitude to Him.
1 Corinthians 10:26 “The Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it.”
Finding a balance doesn’t have to be so hard. Keeping our eyes on God who has given us this wonderful earth, we can choose to care for it in a way that honors Him.
Here are a few ideas for how our families might honor God in our observance of Earth Day:
Keep our eyes on the Creator. Earth Day can be a special day to celebrate the gift of this amazing Earth God has given us! As a family you might watch videos showing the beauty of His creation, and take time to praise Him for all He has done. Each time we see a beautiful sunset, smell a flower, or hear birds singing, we can stop and thank God for His creation. Recognize that every good gift comes from God and be quick to thank Him for the gift of the earth and all of its natural beauty and resources.
Choose to steward what He’s given us well. Perhaps Earth Day can be a time for your family to join together and commit to better habits of recycling, energy conservation, or decreasing pollution. Talk about ways to honor God by taking care of this world. As a family you might find local groups working towards improving the environment, and join forces with them. We can build bridges with others by getting involved with important causes like the environment.
Keep perspective. God’s concern is first for His people, and His Kingdom. He does not want us to put any thing before Him or His children. Even as we care for our environment we should keep a Biblical perspective on things.
Show gratitude and respect to those who are working hard on environmental issues. Even if they do not acknowledge God as the Creator, you can show people God’s love and grace as you appreciate their work. Applaud those who are working towards solutions to environmental issues, and support them how you can.
Pray! Pray for wisdom and discernment: Pray for those who love the creation and don’t know the Creator…that they might find HIM through His creation! Be prepared to share your faith with others as conversations allow. Pray for future generations: We want to leave our kids, and their kids with a world full of all the beauty and natural resources that we enjoy. Take time to pray for those who will come after you, and for those working to make sure the world remains a healthy and clean place.
Happy Earth Day, friends! Celebrate the gift of this world as a gift from the One who created it all.
Originally published 4/20/2017