What to Do With This World God Has Given Us

Howdy!

I’m sitting at ball practice looking over a small herd of donkeys and cattle as I write this, and it seems a fitting sequel to what we talked about last week. The creation which God made, and called good, is more than just a physical representation of the power of Jehovah to make things. It is as much a part of who He is as a good God as is the spiritual world itself. We live in strange times where on the one hand people deny the supernatural, but also have little regard as well for the maintenance of mountains and valleys. It may sound as if I am going into a diatribe on environmentalism. However, all theological conservatives should be as excited about conserving social and moral blessings as they are stewarding the resources and gifts of the natural world. Both are a part of the Lord’s purpose in ensuring that all things are done well and for His glory.

We should believe as Christians that the Lord has a purpose for the rock and river, for His own glory and our benefit.

In Psalm 19 we hear the well-known testimony that God has made two books, that of the Heavens and of the Law. One seen, the other written. Each in their own way illustrating to the mind of man who their Creator is. The sky above shows His glory, His presence everywhere, and the fact that no one who has sense (in a physical, tensile way, not mental capability) can deny His reality. The Bible, the word of God, merely confirms what the natural world reveals about who God is and why He is not only to be obeyed, but worshiped. We were blessed this past Lord’s Day at Bethany to hear an excellent sermon on this passage from Rev. Justin Brickey who only worked to confirm what we read above. The earth itself cries out to the living God, it groans under the weight of sin, and the call of Adam to watch over it and express the dominion of the mandate of Genesis 2 and 3 is no less true today than it was in the time of Eve’s youth. This is such an important truth for the believer to confess. We must affirm that Christ has more than just a future interest in who we are. He wants us to live well now and to enjoy His world.

As we make plans and think through the work God would have us to do on a daily basis we can only ensure a biblical understanding of success when we think about the small things as much as the big things. When we talk about the little stuff in nature we are meaning not so much how we treat fleas and flies, but the Lord’s reasoning in how we go about making decisions with the material gifts of His creation. To put that into perspective think about the chemicals you put into the water supply by using synthetically engineered pesticides and fertilizers, or what about the desire for lowering the need for fossil fuels by wind power which takes away land for cultivation and is a giant swinging guillotine for birds of prey? What about the way sprawl neuters community and promotes the kind of division which is the norm for our world today? These kinds of things of course make me sound crunchy, liberal even in some sense, but that’s precisely the type of question that our forefathers in the faith began asking in the nineteenth century as the industrial revolution began to gain steam (no pun intended). As Christians we have a responsibility to remember our calling to take care of what God has made.

R.L. Dabney helpfully summarizes our relationship to this as he notes:

A steward is one who manages property which does not belong to him. This is just the case with us. The property in our hands is, literally, God’s property. He created it. He preserves it. He calls it his own while it is in our hands . . . Now, it is the plainest truth in the world, that the steward is to manage the estate committed to him, not for his private advantage or profit, but for that of the owner.

Much is made about the health troubles which come from not properly eating and drinking in moderation. The same thing can be said about the earth and the way we use it. Destroying the creation is not going to be of help to us as we consider the current needs we have, neither is returning back to sustenance farming and all the disease which comes from poor nutrition. Having the right relationship with the world that the Lord has made is central to our proper use of it. One of the great concerns of Jesus Christ in His earthly ministry was a warning against the allurement of riches. It isn’t money itself, but the blindness of thinking you must keep up with the Jones’s to maintain the view you want the world to have of you on Instagram or whatever. Far more of our concern as believers should be in considering how the Lord has called us to live in light of the free grace offered in the gospel. As long as we limit the good news to mere transactional action and not a life-giving word of grace which includes all of our existence then we will never fully benefit from all the good things that come from our union with Christ. We should look and be different than unbelievers, and this is one way that is particular important in that image. What do we do with the small things God gives us for His glory? Are we constantly searching after the material at the expense of the creation? No matter how much we need that smart phone are we willing to empty out the Congo to get it? It’s a question worth asking.

In closing, hear again from Dr. Dabney as he challenges us to think through what it is we have been called to in the mercy of our Father. Does our understanding of stewardship, the dominion mandate which continues even after the Fall change how we approach the world, or are we no different than the sons of avarice who seek the next dollar no matter how many need stepped on to get it? Do we find a peaceful countenance in the simple things, comprehending God’s purpose in it, and thereby maintain His good creation, however marred by sin it may be. We have a duty and a calling to care well for both body and soul, for both the earth and all that lives in it.

Meditate on the below:

We profess that we have richer and nobler enjoyments than the pomp of this life, and then swell and rustle with as much pomp as any other human insect of a day. What is the result? The World believes our conduct and not our words—like a shrewd world as it is.

One more word:

https://answersingenesis.org/environmental-science/climate-change/what-about-environmentalism/

Blessings in Christ,

Rev. Benjamin Glaser

Pastor, Bethany ARP Church

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