Celebrating Earth Day: A Christian Perspective on Stewardship of the Environment
Today I want to celebrate Earth Day by sharing just a bit about why I, as a Christian, care about the environment and choose to put time, money and effort towards practicing mindful stewardship of God’s glorious creation.
Here are some of the main reasons that our family has made environmental stewardship a priority as we seek to honor the Lord in all that we do:
1. The earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it (Ps 24:1)
Although we have graciously been given this earth to live in and have dominion over, it is not ours. It is His.
When I live and act in a way that shows disregard to that which God has created, I am not honoring Him. It would be unthinkable to be invited to Buckingham Palace to dine with the Queen, and leave a trail of rubbish in my wake. Dirty tissues on the bathroom counter, muddy footprints in the entry, garbage from my purse on the coffee table. We wouldn’t dare.
Yet, we think nothing of weekly tossing bulging bags of trash into landfills that dot the countryside and mountains. We use products that seep toxic chemical waste into His pristine rivers, lakes and oceans. Why is it any different?
I love this Abraham Kuyper quote:
“There is not a square inch
in the whole domain of our human existence
over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all,
does not cry: ‘Mine!'”
When we begin to view the earth as one of the domains over which Christ sovereignly declares “Mine!”, it becomes much harder to ignore the effects of our (often thoughtless) everyday actions, doesn’t it?
2. Dominion should not equal destruction.
“Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry around the ground.” Genesis 1:28
Multiply. Fill. Govern. Reign.
We have been entrusted with a high and sacred calling to govern over the earth and all that is in it. What a responsibility!
Sadly, we have taken this dominion mandate and used it as justification to do, well, whatever we want. In order to satiate the appetite of our society to have more and have it cheaper and faster, we greedily use up precious natural resources, fill the air, water and soil with dangerous toxic chemicals, raise animals in cruel and harmful ways, consume and then toss our “stuff” into landfills where it will sit for hundreds of years (or longer)…
The word “dominion” means to exercise control. I firmly believe that this earth and its resources have been given to us to have authority over and to use for the benefit of the human race. But rather than taking this as permission to do as we like, we ought to view this authority as a great privelege.
The longer I study natural living, nutrition, the human body, gardening and how things grow… the more in awe I am of our indescribably kind and intelligent Creator. He has given us the most intricate, beautiful world that I could ever imagine.
In my own life, beginning to understand and appreciate His creation has spurred on a much deeper love and respect for God himself. I increasingly long to be more mindful with all that He has graciously given me to steward, and this earth is one of those things.
3. We have a multi-generational vision.
Not one of us knows when the Lord will return. It could be tomorrow. It could be 800 years from now.
I long for Christ to return. Yet should he tarry, what will be left for future generations?
As a family, we have a vision for raising up godly offspring that will serve the Lord and will who will in turn raise up more godly men and women to continue serving the Lord for as long as we should remain on this earth.
Image by Arwen Abendstern
I want my children and grandchildren and grandchildren’s children to have an earth that is still inhabitable. One where they can enjoy the good health, bountiful food and the wonders of creation.
This is possible, but it requires something of our generation. To think beyond ourselves. To consider what will remain and endure past our lifetimes. What legacy will we leave for our children and all the generations to follow?
“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”
(taken from the Seventh Generation website and the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy)
I celebrate Earth Day, not just because I am some hippie, tree-hugger who wants to save the whales. Indeed, I do want to save the trees and the whales and the rivers and the icecaps and the rainforests and the topsoil.
But not just for the sake of saving them, and not just for the sake of humankind. I want to save them because they are an expression of my glorious God and an important part of His loving provision for His people.
Is this the most important thing for me to focus on as a Christian? No, not at all. There are so many other critically important parts of the Christian life, but that doesn’t detract from the fact that this aspect of life is also important and worthy of our thought and effort.
If I am to eat, drink and do all that I do to the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31), then it only follows that my lifestyle and actions should also have the goal of bringing glory to God in the ways that they impact His creation.
This is a post to fit my heart. Nature & God’s glorious creation is a big part of my testimony story and something that is very near and dear to me at all times. Thanks for the beautifully articulated way Christians *should* care about it!
This was my favorite part, ” I want to save them because they are an expression of my glorious God and an important part of His loving provision for His people.”
.-= Sarah M´s last blog ..Spring Collection =-.
Amen 🙂 I couldn’t agree more that we as Christians need to take our duty as stewards much more seriously. And you presented the case in such an eloquent, encouraging and gentle manner–so kudos to you! I am sure that was something you took great pains to do, and it shows. Thanks for sharing this!!
.-= carmen @ life blessons´s last blog ..Surprise! A Birthday Trip to Savannah! =-.
Wonderfully written! I want to teach earth day today to the kids, but I didn’t want to do it in a radical “the polar ice caps are melting the polar bears are dying and its all because mommy drives an suv” kind of way. I do think we are to be good stewards to what the Lord has entrusted us with. Thanks for the scriptures.
I agree. We should all try to do our part.
.-= Bette @ Frugalmomx3´s last blog ..Happy Earth Day! =-.
Wonderfully written! Thanks for sharing- hope you don’t mind I shared with some others too!
I linked back your post on my blog, hope that’s ok! Here’s the link to it:
.-= Jill G.´s last blog ..Celebrating Earth Day: A Christian Perspective on Stewardship of the Environment | Keeper of the Home =-.
@Jill G., Of course it’s ok- thanks! 🙂
If I wasn’t in my office I would pound my desk and shout “here here!” I believe it IS important we are good stewards and treat ourselves, each other and the earth we live on like the gifts they are!
.-= Kait Palmer´s last blog ..Okie Homie =-.
Beautifully written Stephanie. Refreshing read from all the other earth day media news and even other bloggers who worship the earth , but do not worship the Creator.
.-= Pamela´s last blog ..Sustainability and Caring for Creation: =-.
You put into words exactly how I feel. I am going to print this one out! Thank you!
I was explaining to my oldest today about Earth Day. I explained how we are to be good stewards (in a way she could understand) and told her about things that we do already. She’s into so many questions- the other day she asked me where the garbage goes when the truck comes. I am thankful we don’t have that much to go somewhere! But still more than I would like. Part of it is impossible to eliminate with the way the world is set up.
@Nola, It is definitely hard to eliminate it all. I’ve been lamenting recently that we still have as much trash as we do, with all that I try to do to reduce it. I guess we just continue to try to be faithful stewards and God to bless our efforts, right?
It’s so wonderful that you’re teaching your daughter about these things. She is learning at such a young age how to be mindful of these things already!
Loved this! Took the words out of my mouth.
.-= To Think Is To Create´s last blog ..Hope For Special Needs Teeth =-.
Oh my GOODNESS. We are totally mind twins today, Stephanie! I wrote up something similar for Earth Day, but you said it so much better than I managed to. (As usual!)
Beautifully written. We so share the same heart in this. Thank you!
.-= Megan@SortaCrunchy´s last blog ..Have I Ever Told You Why I Hug Trees? =-.
@Megan@SortaCrunchy, Ahem… rarely do I write something better than you, my dear! I love how you say things… off to read your post! 🙂
Wonderful post, Stephanie. It saddens me (and puzzles me) when Christians seem to feel that not only can they be careless with the earth (because God will make it all right?) but also that those who do care are liberal left-wing tree-huggers. Your post describes a very well-balanced perspective that I wish more of our brothers and sisters shared — without, of course, making it an “Item of the Faith.” 🙂
.-= Hannah´s last blog ..Great Books for Boys!* =-.
Maybe it’s because the liberal left wing tree huggers get so much attention for the wrong reasons, so Christian conservatives stay away? I know that I’m bewildered as to why conserving resources and taking care of the Earth are deemed liberal characteristics.
.-= Kelly Cook´s last blog ..Udder Amazement =-.
O.k. SO, you are my new favorite blog.
How is it no one has sourced me here before??
This was the absolute perfect article for Earth Day–
coming from another believer who lives greenly 🙂
Many thanks to Jessie of Muthering Heights for sending me here….
@Sara Sophia, And welcome! I’m so glad you’re here! 🙂
Splendid! Yes, I agree wholeheartedly!
.-= Jana @ The Summer House´s last blog ..A Visit To The Purl Warehouse =-.
I want to share YMCA’s “where did community go” link with a wonderful community here.
Enter YMCA’s facebook photo contest for a chance to win a free 3 month family pass to any Y in vancouver. Submit your photo here:
Very well stated. I agree, what a beautiful picture of God’s creativity, majesty, glory we have in the world around us. To trash it just because we can, or we want ‘stuff’- not very Christ centered thinking for sure.
So, so well articulated and supported with Scripture! Thank you for saying this so well and with conviction.
Still enjoying this blog so much!
Barbara @ http://www.justbummingarounddiapers.com
Great minds think alike (: My post after earth day was so similar…of course yours…much more eloquent (: I had the benefit of past generations who felt strongly that because God was so gracious in giving us this earth and all things on it, that we should show our love for Him by caring for the very gift He shared.
Love the post and the beautiful scripture!
.-= Michele´s last blog ..Earth Day…huh? =-.
Absolutely wonderful post, I am also a Christian who feels this way, and was just looking for verses to back up my feelings, I will very much enjoy sharing these verses with my family and Sunday school class this week. Thanks for posting.
Ok, but you talk a lot about having lots of kids, and what does that do in terms of using up what’s on the earth. For all I know you’re planning on adopting to grow your family, but how do you reconcile “children as blessings” with making a small impact on God’s creation at this stage of growth of the human race? I’m a Christian too, and I want to be a mom more than anything, and giving birth seems like this magical thing that I want to be a part of, but I’m really conflicted about birthing my own because I feel like I have to make up for the people who are having six or seven just to break even on the impact of the earth.
@Hannah, Here is a post that I wrote a long ago in response to that very idea: https://keeperofthehome.org/2008/09/having-children-a-selfish-act.html
I absolutely disagree that having children is a burden or a negative impact on the Earth. Rather, we will accept all the blessings that God gives us and train them to be good stewards themselves, agents of change, and ones who love to honor both God and His creation.
Well gee, I wasn’t asking you to abort your next child. Value clean air and water yes, but still use it up in greater amounts than a lot of children in other parts of the world. A family can still teach adopted children to be good stewards and agents of change.
@Hannah, When I left the link, I wasn’t really referring to the abortion aspect of the article in the post, but more to my own stance on WHY I see having our children as hope for the future and not as a burden. I definitely agree that adopted children can also be raised to do the same things, and that is a vision that our family has as well as having biological children!
Beautiful post – capturing a lot of what I wish I was eloquent enough to say (and remember) I’ll be referring back to this and looking forward to reading more of your posts.
Great post. Taking care of this beautiful world that God gave us is just common sense, and we don’t need to be fanatical about it but take this mandate seriously.
True words, Stephanie. We need more voices speaking out for the deep connection between Christian faith and the care of the earth – and more lives living it, too.
It’s a bit less reflection and a bit more argument, but you may enjoy looking at A Rocha’s latest blog post: Mission: Saving souls or saving seals? about what the church is all about (spoiler: no need to pick sides).
Thanks, Julio! 🙂 I’m wondering if A Rocha is a world-wide organization, or if you’re a part of the local A Rocha location in the Fraser Valley, BC?
Earth Day is a propaganda tool for the “earth is doomed by CO2” hysterics.
Yes, we are to be good stewards. But the yuppie agenda works against children and the poor.
And CO2 is not pollution for anyone who passed high school general science.