“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.”
Yesterday was Earth day. As a country, we stop and pause to consider how human beings leave an imprint on this world. We think about how our actions cause harm or bring healing to this Earth that we are so blessed to be a part of. As Christians, we have a special way of looking at the Earth. While creation care is not a “salvation issue” it should still be something that followers of Jesus should be concerned about and think critically about. After all, as Colossians reminds us, everything about this Earth is made for and by Jesus.
This means that we can uplift the name of Jesus in the way we treat this Earth. Stewardship is concerned with how we care for things God has given us. However, this moves outside of just money and possessions and calls us to also consider our stewardship of the Earth. The universe that God made is for more than consumption. The deeper question of stewardship is not how can I use it, but how can I worship with it?
After all, when God made all of creation in Genesis 1 he did not just make the world and then mankind to rule over it; he made mankind to be a part of it. We are called to consider how we relate to the world around us. Creation is much more than a sponge that God has given us to squeeze all the resource from- we are in partnership with this world- how we use it will dictate how it nourishes us.
Some people would argue that this world is temporary and going to pass away, so why bother caring for it? Well, if stewardship is about worship then we should care for it because caring for it is worshipping Jesus. I want the way I care for this Earth to be a hint of how I care for God’s unseen kingdom. Think of it this way, Jesus promised us in John 14 that he went to prepare a place for each of us. I want the way I care for the things God has given me on this Earth to show how I am anticipating the place he has prepared for me in the life to come. I want my life to show Jesus that I am grateful for what he is preparing for me in Heaven by worshipping him with the world around me now. This attitude is connected to Jesus’ parable of the talents in Matthew 25. In the parable, the master told his servants that because they had been faithful with little they would be given much. I want my care of this world to show Christ that I am anticipating the coming Kingdom that is so much greater.
Finally, I care for creation because creation is made for Jesus. Contrary to some thinking, this world was not made for us- this world was made for Jesus. This is one of the reasons the rocks will cry out if we do not praise our God. God did not make a world for humans and their consumption- all things were made for Christ and are sustained in Christ. While humans are chief stewards of this creation, we are still under the authority of Jesus, along with the trees, the oceans, the animals, and everything else in creation.
I plant trees to worship Jesus, I clean up liter to worship Jesus, I recycle and reuse to worship Jesus. My creation care is a bioproduct of my discipleship and spiritual health. I do not worship the world, but I worship the one who created it and the one who this world was created for.