To Cultivate and Keep It
Is it just me or does it seem like we’re inventing holidays just so we have something interesting to share on social media? My profile picture is getting stale, it must be time for a new holiday that will dictate what kind of banner I can add to my page.
It seems like they have a holiday for everything nowadays. Most of the new ones they are introducing seems a bit silly to those people who have been around for a while and remember the way it “used to be.” However, holidays in this country are a sign of what we value as a culture. Earth day, for example, might just be the invention of some silly “tree-huggers,” or it might be an opportunity for us to express our values.
The earth is a reminder. Far from the idea that the earth is somehow our magical mother or a cosmic deity, the earth is a reminder from God about His goodness and care. Romans 1 is a great reminder that God’s “invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made.” (verse 20) We can know a lot about God from the earth He has created. Toward the end of a lengthier Psalm that recognizes the beauty of the earth, the psalmist writes, “I will sing to YHWH as long as I live” because it is a reminder of His goodness. (Psalm 104)
The earth is a responsibility. Those of us who have been given this great gift must recognize that from the very beginning we were to “rule over” all the things that God created. (Genesis 1:26-31) However, we are able to see what that looks like when Adam was told to “cultivate it and keep” the garden which God made specifically for the man. (Genesis 2:4-17) Anyone who is put in a position of authority knows that it is also a position of responsibility to care for the thing being governed.
The earth is also a reward. Jesus famously promised that the meek were blessed, because they would, “inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5) but it was not the first time the promise was made. “But the humble will inherit the land / And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.” (Psalm 37:11) Since the creation is God’s to give to those He chooses, why would He hold back His blessings from His loyal ones? Those who have come to know God’s goodness, have also known that He continues to provide today in ways that are outside of our understanding, and all this according to His promises. “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32) This is not a promise that we will be able to amass a great deal of wealth, but with His creation, God blesses His people.
While many may use certain days to deify the earth, let us be ready to give glory where it is appropriate, and thank God for His great gift of the earth.