This land is your land, this land is my land, from the Red Wood Forest, to the Gulf Stream waters.. Do you remember that famous folk song? We often think of it that way too. But as Christians we have a different view on the world. My friend Deborah Prater shared this link with me and it got me to thinking:
As a man who has been studying stewardship the past few months, this article reminds me of much of what I have been discussing with my friends. Once we begin to see the world for what it truly is, a creation given to us by God, and not as some place that was designed for us to do with as we wish; it truly changes our outlook. How many of us would design a room for our children, fill it with good things, and then watch on with joy as they destroyed it.. ripped the walls down and then broke all the toys? Yet we humans often think that we should be free to destroy the earth because we have been given 'dominion over it.'
If a king is given dominion over his peons, and he treats them well we call him a benevolent ruler. If he beats them, destroys their land, and is a horror to them.. we call them a tyrant. How much more so are we in this day and age tyrants over the land that God has given us? Do not get me wrong, many of the very comforts I enjoy daily (including this computer that I type on at the moment) have come from the development of man throughout this working and subduing the land. Yet, we also have created some very horrible things. We have destroyed many beautiful forests in the name of money and progress. We have turned many of God's creatures into genetic aberrations and keep them confined in foul, disease ridden buildings with no windows in order to have $.99 hamburgers. We fill our bodies with chemicals, cholesterol, and high fructose corn syrup creating a society in which diabetes, heart disease, and obesity is the norm; all in the name of gluttony.
When I was writing about Buddhism a while back, the concept of mindfulness brought me to a new understanding of God's providence. The Buddhist practitioner tries to remain 'in the moment', conscience of what he is doing at all times. We as Christians can learn from that.. being in the moment.. realizing that we are handling things that belong to God. How many times do we angrily sling the dishes around or half heartily wash them because we just don't want to be bothered with cleaning up (or even just leave them in the sink for days). If we truly believe that this universe is Gods, and that all gifts come from him, those dishes aren't ours! How would we treat our great grandmothers fine china? Then why do we feel that anything that belongs to God is worth less respect and treatment?
It truly opens new windows in your mind when you realize that as St. Paul said, "whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." When we are at work building something, we should do our best! Though it is our bosses request that we do this job, it is God we are working for! When we mow the lawn, do it right! Make it look as good as you can, because you are doing it for God. Take that extra second it takes to overlap the mower to not miss a patch here or there.. clean the mower up (I'm guilty of not doing this) when you are done and maintain it. Clean out the stale fries in the car, it's not yours! We are just temporary residents of God's world, with God's things. They may have been designed and built by God, but it's God who gave us intelligence to do so.. who made us in his image.. that we too can join in creation!