“So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’ Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground – everything that has the breath of life in it – I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning – the sixth day.” Genesis 1: 27-31
As a child watching TV, I vividly remember one particular commercial for Keep America Beautiful in which a Native American actor paddles a canoe and encounters floating litter in the streams. When he pulls the canoe onto the shore, it is strewn with garbage that has been carelessly tossed aside. Standing on the side of a road, someone throws a bag of garbage out the window and it falls apart at his feet. Iron Eyes Cody turns toward the camera with a tear rolling down his cheek. Thus, my view about stewardship of the earth changed forever.
In college, I worked as an intern for Georgia Clean and Beautiful at the State Capitol and had the opportunity to meet Iron Eyes Cody, who said he saw great improvement since that ad aired. And while this was gratifying, he said we have much left to accomplish.
In this passage from Genesis, humans are told to “master” or “subdue” the earth. I believe God is telling us to take care of earth. After all, earth is the only planet upon which we have to live. It is our only home, and we must leave a legacy of gratitude for the world God gave us so generations after us have the opportunity to enjoy its splendor, and to thrive through careful stewardship of its resources.
I am in awe of the flora and fauna God created as well as the hills and valleys, the oceans and streams, and sun for the day and the sky filled with stars to light our way at night. But most of all, I am grateful for our Creator God who gave our earthly home such beauty. As children of God, we can thrive, especially when we show gratitude for the blessings bestowed upon us by our Creator.
Gratitude: October 18 – October 24