Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me. Job 41:11
Oil spills which destroy the environment, pelicans and albatrosses who eat plastic, chemical waste which kills fish and marine life and destroys natural resources, and rusted beer cans which litter the landscape--how much of this is of concern to you? Or should it be at all?
A generation ago Christians sang the words of a hymn written by Malthie Babcock which go, "This is my Father's World, And to my list'ning ear, All nature sings, and round me rings, The music of the spheres." Yes, the world still belongs to Him, but there is one thing for sure: In the past century, with burgeoning masses of people, the proliferation of plastics and synthetics, the widespread use of industrial chemicals which get dumped into our rivers and oceans, and the widespread disregard of the ecology, the air has become polluted, the water we drink is often unsafe, and the beautiful landscapes and beaches have become littered with filth which was unimaginable to my grandfather.
I will never forget the revulsion which I felt when I took my kids backpacking into a wilderness area and as a trail crested the peak, we looked down on a beautiful meadow and a small hut at one end which we thought had been used by a logger or an earlier settler. As we made our way through the lush valley towards the abandoned hut, the closer we got, the greater was the concentration of rusting beer and pop cans and plastic and trash which had been left by careless campers.
Question: Should the environment be a cause of concern to those of us who are Christians? I cringe a bit as I even ask that question. For a long while, many of us who believe God created our beautiful world have looked the other way, not wanting to come down on the side of the environmentalists and the liberals who stand for Green Peace and the ecological balance in nature.
"They just go too far," I've heard good people say, but the fact is that if they go too far, we should be even more shamed because we haven't gone any distance at all in protesting what is happening to our world, the air we breath, the water we drink, and the environment in which we must raise our children.
It is high time that all of us who believe this is God's world use our influence, our resources, and our abilities to preserve the beauty of the world God has given to us.
All of us are victims when major industries and companies ignore public health and safety, and we say or do nothing because it isn't our child suffering from leukemia or it wasn't our boss who said, "Dump this stuff, anywhere, just get rid of it!"
"All that is necessary for evil to triumph," said Edmund Burke, "is for good men to do nothing." Yes, I know you can't fight and die on every hill, but what you can do, you ought to do. Like what? First make sure you don't contribute to the problem. Litter--whether it is on a trail or allowing your kids to drop their candy and gum wrappers--is inexcusable. Sort and recycle, even if you don't like it.
Read with discernment. Rain forests that have died because loggers cut the trees or global warming that threatens to make the oceans rise may be beyond your ability to stop, but you can plant a tree, cultivate a flower, ride your bicycle instead of cranking up the car, car pool, buy small, more energy-efficient vehicles and appliances, and use a fan instead of the air con.
If this is God's world, and you are God's child, it's time to start taking care of His property. It's a family matter.
Resource reading: Job 38: 4-41