Many churches throughout the world use a Bible reading schedule called a "lectionary." It's just a fancy word meaning "selected readings." Posts like this reflect on the readings for an upcoming Sunday or other Church holiday, as found in the historic one-year lectionary.
Psalm 24:1 boldly describes the entire world as belonging to the Lord. It is not ours to use as we desire, but it is his to use as he desires.
Christians are regularly accused of not caring for the planet. And we should grant that in some times and in some places, Christians have not been the best of friends to our ecosystems. We have sometimes wound up in partnerships with those whose policies and practices could lead to breakdown of the environment and endangering some animal species, even driving some to extinction. This is a sad truth.
Yet when we look at past history, all people can be accused of the same practices. We all have a history of being pretty rough on the planet.
A better question to ask is whether we are realizing what our planet is for. The Bible describes it as existing for the Lord's purposes. And we find throughout Scripture that God's good pleasure is not to maintain the environment for its own sake. It is subsidiary to something else, and that something is the needs of humanity, from one generation to the next, as long as the Lord keeps us here. He is working to reconcile humanity to himself. This process has gone on for many generations.
What do Christians do in light of this stated purpose? Several things. I'll list three that come to mind, in no particular order. It isn't an exhaustive list, but hopefully it will give us something to work with for the time being.
First, we take care of human need. We were initially given the task of populating the planet, taking dominion over it, and tending the garden where we were placed. That command has never changed. We're able to produce food, shelter, and other needs for billions of people, many more than live on the earth just now. Our ability to produce that food has increased substantially in recent generations, as has our ability to be sure the environment isn't damaged in its abiltiy to sustain future generations. So we care for the things around us and make the most of them, trying as well as we can to distribute them to others as well.
Second, we recognize that all good gifts come from the true and living God. We give thanks to Him, not to ourselves, to our natural systems, or to whatever organizations we have set up and assume will protect us. God is the one who receives the glory, including the honor for giving us the fruit of our labor.
Third, we realize that our desires are not the ultimate good. Nor is the planet. All this is made to be used and to be passed on to others. God in Christ is the ultimate good.
Our role in this world is to be stewards of the gifts God has entrusted to us. We give God the glory, using it for the good of those people he has placed here under our care.
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