1. HUMANS ARE GIVEN THE TASK OF STEWARDING THE EARTH.
In the very first book of the Bible-Genesis–God places Adam in the Garden of Eden to “tend and watch over it” (Genesis 2:15). God of course is capable of caring for the earth He created Himself, but it is significant that he assigns this task to the people He created. Anyone who has ever tended a garden, helped clean up city streets, or planted new trees has likely felt the joy of this task.
2. GOD GAVE PEOPLE AUTHORITY OVER HIS CREATION.
Not only does God task people with tending and caring for the earth, He gives them dominion or authority over His Creation: “Then God said, ‘Let us make human beings in our image, to be like us. They will reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the livestock, all the wild animals on the earth, and the small animals that scurry along the ground'” (Genesis 1:26). Humans are God’s special creation, and to show how much He values us, He gives us the task of using our minds, bodies, and resources to be good leaders of the rest of His creation.
3. THE EARTH NEEDS A SABBATH TO REST LIKE WE DO.
All of God’s Creation was made with the need to breathe, to rest. Even the very ground we walk on needs time to refresh and replenish its ability to produce good things. It is like when you see a plot of land that used to be an old junkyard and waste ground being turned into a flower garden; the earth needs time to renew itself. The Bible speaks of this in Leviticus when God tells the people of Israel, “When you have entered the land I am giving you, the land itself must observe a Sabbath rest before the Lord every seventh year. For six years you may plant your fields and prune your vineyards and harvest your crops, but during the seventh year the land must have a Sabbath year of complete rest. It is the Lord’s Sabbath. Do not plant your fields or prune your vineyards during that year” (25:2-4).
4. GOD WANTS US TO ENJOY WHAT HE CREATED, NOT DEFILE IT.
Since God grants us dominion over His Creation, we have a right to use what we need from the earth to live. He has given us the authority to use His Creation for food, shelter, and other important aspects of life. But He also cautions us against taking liberties with this gift. In Jeremiah, God says, “I brought you into a fertile land to eat its fruit and rich produce. But you came and defiled my land and made my inheritance detestable” (2:7). This is a warning to us to use the earth well and to treat it as a valuable mark of God’s Creation and provision, rather than as a thing to waste and defile.
5. GOD USES HIS CREATION TO REMIND US OF HIS TRUTH.
In Matthew 6:26 Jesus tells His followers, “Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are?” God often uses His incredible Creation to remind us of important Truths–His Creation complements His Word so well! Another example of this is in Isaiah 1:18: “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.” The next time you see a small bird or a new snow, be reminded of God’s Truth!
6. THE EARTH IS A SHOWCASE FOR GOD’S EXISTENCE.
From the vast ocean to the stunning mountain ranges to the intricacies of an ecosytem, the whole earth is a canvas that proclaims the existence of a Creator. The Apostle Paul writes about this in Romans 1:20: “For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God.”
7. WE ARE STEWARDS OF THIS EARTH FOR A LIMITED TIME.
As caretakers of the earth, we need to be reminded that God has only given us this task for a limited time. One day He will “create new heavens and a new earth” (Isaiah 65:17). But for now, and especially as Earth Day approaches, let us do all within our power to care well for this amazing planet God created and entrusted us to steward.