The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. (Genesis 2:15)
In Genesis 2:15, God gave us our first job assignment: to tend and protect the Garden. One reason God wants us to take care of the planet is because we cant live without it. Our very survival depends upon the health of the planet.
Taking care of the planet is also a form of giving. Jesus said that the most important kind of giving isnt the kind that seeks recognition. Its about helping people who cant thank you. Its about sacrifice. Its about helping people who arent even born yet. Its about planting seeds for the future.
Some people think we dont need to take care of the earth because its all going to be destroyed. Why bother? Jesus could come back tomorrow. And theyre right; Jesus could come back tomorrow. But if he doesnt come back for 10,000 years, think about how many people would get to hear the good news. Isnt that reason enough to take care of the world? Wasnt that reason enough for our great-great-grandparents to take care of the world? Someday Jesus will return, but until then, were told to be the hands and feet of God here on earth.
If we believe in an all-powerful God, maybe we should ask ourselves this question: why were we born here? Why werent we just born in heaven? God placed us here because He wants us to choose Him.
This life, this time, is a giftits a love story. God wants us to say, I do, not, I have to.
God designed each of us to be part of a vast body that stretches across time and space and culture. Its called the body of Christthe Church. God didnt leave His Church, His body of Christ, floating out in the middle of nowhere. He left it on a planet teeming with life and teeming with hope. Gods hope for creation rests in us.
For more of Dr. Sleeth’s reflections, see the Blessed Earth Hope for Creation Films and Guidebooks (Zondervan 2010).