Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church - Marshfield, WI

Stewardship Part 2

In Genesis 2:5, we are told a line that perhaps would be easy to not take a second glance at.  “When no bush of the field was yet in the land and no small plant of the field had yet sprung up—for the Lord God had not caused it to rain on the land, and there was no man to work the ground…”

The earth needs two agents to work upon it in order for the Creation to do what it wants to do: God and Man.
God supplies the rain and the materials for plants and food to grow.

Mankind supplies the work and the care.

Together God and his human creatures are engaged in a mutual upbuilding and care for the Creation.  The creation needs God, but the creation also needs mankind to care for it.  Without mankind’s guidance and work, Creation is unfruitful and wasted.
This is perhaps a different understanding than many come with when thinking of mankind’s place here in Creation.  Often mankind is called a virus and that the creation would be better off without us.

Now for sure, the creation is suffering because of mankind’s sin and corruption.  Because we fell in our rebellion, the creation was also affected.
But this understanding that the Creation needs mankind’s care and attention can also help us engage with the world that cares deeply and rightly about how we should take care of the earth that God has given to us to join with God in managing.

Often, the ideas about pollution, climate change, and mankind’s contributions to it all are mired in political gears and policies, and boiled discussions.
But we as Christians know something that no one else can know: we know what the earth wants because we have God’s revelation concerning it.  For unbelievers there is no reason why we should care for the Creation.  They have God’s natural law built into them to know that they should care for the earth, but no reason to know why.  They will mark out thoughts like the earth is our mother and other pagan thoughts.  But they lack the full revelation.

After all how do we not know, from an atheist perspective, that the earth did not put us here in order to make plastic and fill the earth with it.  Perhaps the earth wanted to be known as “the earth with plastic?”
Without God’s Word and revelation and charge to us that we are to care for the earth, we are left in the dark about “why” we are to treat God’s Creation.

But when we know that the earth is the Lord’s and that he has called us to join with him in the cultivation and care of a fallen world then we know both “why” and “how” we are to act.
So we are called to love and care for the earth.  Not seeing it as a mere commodity or as something to satisfy our desires with.  But caring for it in order that life may flourish.  Of course, on this side of things Mankind’s efforts will not overturn the curse, no matter how well we try to counteract them.  But mankind is tasked with caring for this earth like we do with people who are approaching the end of their life.

We care for this creation because of the echo that God spoke in the beginning.  We care for this creation because the incarnation of Jesus tells us that this world is important to God and under his redemptive care.  We finally care for this creation because of what it will be again when Jesus returns and lifts the curse that is on it now.
Until then, care for God’s creation.  Mow the grass, reduce your waste, give thanks to God for such a gift that is given, and be responsible for how you use the creation knowing that we will all give an account to Christ.
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