Summary: In continuing to look at the 7 areas we need to give up control (7UP) to God, we turn to the environmental area and taking care of the world in which we live.

7UP: Go Green!

Genesis 1:26-28, 31

October 19, 2008

We are continuing to look at seven areas to give over to God in order to follow Jesus in holistic community. That is, seven areas (7UP) to God to be completely, holistically set apart for God’s use. When one or more of these areas are neglected or we refuse to seek God’s will for us, then we are limited in our growth in other areas.

This week we are going to look at the environmental area. The symbol is soil and plants and life. To get guidance for this area, we will look at Genesis 1:26-28 and then verse 31. I also will slip in a few verses from the second creation account found chapter 2.

There was a little girl who went to stay with her grandparents who lived in the country. The grandparents had worked the land by farming and raising animals but now just kept a small portion for themselves while they leased out the land for others. This little girl, her name was Michaela, was fascinated by nature and farm life since she lived in the suburbs.

Grandma took little Michaela out to a little patch of corn that they still farmed and put her to work picking the corn. Grandma begin teaching Michaela telling her that God made the corn grow and it was God’s blessing to them and therefore we should strive to take care of the land and nature and the environment as a gift and blessing from God.

For about ten minutes, this was exciting and cool for little Michaela, picking corn that is. At first it didn’t seem like work but after ten minutes for a six year-old, her enthusiasm waned considerably. Finally, Michaela turned to her grandmother in an effort to get them to move on to some other activity said, “Grandma, you know that you buy this stuff in the grocery, don’t you?”

When the Hebrew scriptures talk about dominion or rule (as was read earlier), some use this to justify that humans are entitled to use and abuse our environment and natural resources any way that we want. But that is not what the context indicates.

In 2:15, the second version of creation tells us that the man was put into the garden to work and take care of it. Whenever God talks about a king ruling over people, God’s intent is for the king to nurture the people, to be just and do what is right, to be a model of godly character for others to follow, and to lead others into the worship of the one God.

Therefore, in Genesis, God’s original call for humans “to rule” was to take care of their environment, nurture its growth, keep things in some semblance of order, and in doing so not allow any of the other created things become idols or gods over us. When we refuse or ignore the original purpose that God has given us, this seems to me to be slothful.

So environment, what then is our response-ability? If God is to be in control of this area, then what does it mean?

Our Response-Ability: Care for environment

• Conserve

Things like conservation. Don’t waste what we have. Little things like turning off lights. Proper insulation. Programmable thermostats not only save you money help conserve as well. This all helps our environment and the world that the next generations will inherit. Fix leaky faucets.

Reuse things as well. I try to reuse paper. Part of the benefits of not having a bulletin is reducing the amount of paper that we use.

• Recycle

This is huge and a fairly easy. Recycle glass, plastic, paper, and cardboard.

Yet, excuses still abound. “It’s too hard. It’s too messy. It’s too inconvenient. It’s takes too much time.” I just have one thing to say—“Wah!”

“It doesn’t really matter. What difference can I make?” Actually each one of us makes a huge difference. Do you believe that every single person matters to God? Do you believe that you matter to God? Then why would be so hard to believe that you can make a difference here. And that we (together) can make a huge difference.

“It’s all some liberal agenda to take down big business.” I’ve heard this and honestly it is rooted in ignorance. When in Ireland, I was so impressed with the overall concern for the environment and how widespread the efforts were at changing the way we take care of our world.

“It costs too much.” Sometimes it does cost more to do something that is right, good, fair, and just.

“It’s all going to be burned up anyway.” That’s just lame and bad theology as well. God said that what he created was very good! In fact, throughout the bible and especially in Revelation, those who destroy his creation are characterized as the enemies of God. I wonder whose side we are really on.

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