It all began in a garden created by God. He called it “good” (Genesis 2:8). He placed within it water, land, plants, trees, fish, birds, and animals of all kinds. When He created Adam and Eve, He placed them in that garden to work it and keep it (Genesis 2:15), as His stewards of His creation. God cares about His creation and, as Jesus’ disciples, we need to embrace our roles as representatives of His care for it.
Have you ever paused to consider that some of our current environmental issues may actually be rooted in sins such as selfishness and greed? Consider water pollution, for example. How hard is it to make sure we don’t put something in the water, as a person or as a business, which causes the water to be contaminated? When we do contaminate water, others “down stream”—whether literally or generationally—can’t enjoy the same blessings from it as we do. Our selfishness is focused on our own convenience—it’s easier to leave our trash than throw it away—and our carelessness—not thinking how what we do might affect creation and others enjoying it. Greed can also blind us as we choose to destroy something because we only have our own gain in mind. As followers of Jesus, we need to humble ourselves and reference God’s perspective as we deal with the growing list of environmental problems at hand.
My grandparents were farmers in northwest Minnesota, home to the rich, fertile soil of the Red River Valley. While pastoring there in my twenties, I had the privilege of gaining friends who are hardworking, godly farmers. Through their lives they taught me the value of the land. Agricultural themes run throughout the Scriptures. Agriculture is often used as a metaphor to provide us with greater insights into our walks with Jesus (i.e. the Sower in Matthew 13:1-9, 18-24; and the Vine and the Branches in John 15:1-9). We also find that God is concerned about fields, corps, and land, and even how food we grow is shared with the hungry (Leviticus 25-26). Hunger and malnutrition are rampant throughout the world—as of this writing there are approximately 925 million people around the world classified as “hungry”. That is almost 1 out of 7 of us! Those who view this domain as their vocation/calling can play a very significant role in making an impact here on behalf of Jesus and His kingdom.
As we see in Genesis, God created animals. They are seen throughout Scripture from Genesis to Revelation and are also used as symbols or pictures in the Scriptures: Jesus is pictured as the “Lion of the Tribe of Judah,” we are the “sheep of His pasture,” and Satan first appears as a “serpent”. Some of our favorite Bible stories as children include animals: Noah and the ark, Jonah and the whale, and Daniel in the lion’s den. A reading of Psalm 104 reveals God’s provision of food, water, and places to dwell for these special creatures of His making. Whether furry friends that live with us in our homes, animals on the farm, or those in the wild, it’s important to reference God’s truths of humility, justice, and kindness as we interact with them.
All of these areas—environment, agriculture, and zoology—affect all of us around the world in various ways. The question I have is, who is willing to disciple the next generation of godly leaders to represent His character, ways, and mission within this domain? Jesus-followers called to this domain: we need you to pour into others so that His perspective, based on Scripture, is understood, embraced, modeled, and forwarded.
Reflection Points: the Character of God and Environment, Agriculture and Zoology
1. He’s the Creator of the earth and everything in it (Psalm 104:25, 30; John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-17)
- The plants (Genesis 1:11-12)
- The fish and birds (Genesis 1:20-21)
- The animals (Genesis 1:24-25)
2. He relates to all of His creation.
- The heavens, earth, the seas, fields, trees (Psalm 96:10-13)
- The wild animals (Isaiah 43:20-21)
- The clouds and lightening (Job 37:14-18)
3. His creation expresses worship to Him.
- The heavens tell of the glory of God and the work of His hands (Psalm 19:1)
- The mountains and hills burst into song and all the trees of the field clap their hands (Isaiah 55:12-13)
- Every creature in heaven and on earth, under the sea and on the sea, and all that is in them (Revelation 5:13).
4. He instructs through Nature (Job 12:7-10; Proverbs 6:6-11; Romans 1:19-20).
5. He protects and preserves animals (Genesis 6:19-21).
6. He’s made a covenant that includes plants and animals (Genesis 9:8-13).