Summary: A look at our responsibility for the world God has given us.
Who’s Watching the Garden?
Imagine if you will that you own a beautiful and lavish home, not a far stretch for most of us here who live in a style that the majority of the world can only imagine, but I digress. Imagine if you will that you owned a beautiful and lavish home, a home that you had designed and built yourself. You didn’t hammer every nail and lay all the carpet but you had watched and supervised and hammered the occasional nail and picked out the cabinets and the flooring and the colours. And you truly loved your home, I don’t know if there is a home as loved as the one you actually have a hand in building. But the day comes that you decide that for whatever reason that the time had come to become a landlord instead of a homeowner. Perhaps you had built a nicer home, or maybe you had moved to another location but for whatever reason you decide that you will rent out your beautiful home.
So you find a tenant, you check their references, discuss the terms of the lease, get your damage deposit equal to half of the monthly rent and sign the lease. As you are leave you tell the tenant, “Enjoy”.
The time finally comes that your tenant is moving out; perhaps you decide you want to live in the house again or maybe they are simply moving for whatever reason. So you come back to your house to move in and you can’t believe your eyes, your beautiful lavish home has been trashed, literally trashed.
There is garbage all over what had once been a beautifully landscaped lawn, the front door is hanging off the hinges, you go in and can’t believe what has happened to the house that you had designed and built with so much care. The hardwood floor is gouged and scratched, from the multiple cigarette burns it looks like it has been used as an ash tray, and your tenants had promised they didn’t smoke. If the bathroom had ever seen cleaner or a sponge it was only a passing acquaintance, you can’t even tell what the colour of the original fixtures were.
There are holes in the walls, the screens have been torn and it would appear that people had swung from the light fixtures. The house was permeated with the stench of garbage and filth and you knew in your heart of hearts that no matter what you did that your beautiful lavish home would never be the same again.
In anger you confront your former tenant and they look at you blankly as if they don’t see the problem and they tell you, “I was paying rent so I assumed I could do what I wanted. After all, wasn’t it mine as longer as I was paying you to live there?” You start to sputter, your eyes bulge out and homicidal thoughts race through your mind. You reach out to place your fingers around the neck of this inconsiderate lout when they say “But hey, you can keep the damage deposit.” And they walk away whistling.
How would you feel? Would you agree with them that they had indeed paid their rent on time each month and that by allowing you to keep the damage deposit that everything should be all right? By virtue of renting did they have the right to do whatever they wanted to while they lived in your home?
Of course not. There was a certain understanding either written or implied that they were not to intentionally damage your home and were to return it to you in close to the same condition that they had received it.
I don’t know how many of you know my son, he is a 25 year old artist, still at the idealistic age that he believes that he can change the world and a fervent environmentalist. A while back we were having a discussion; discussion is a good word, over big business, development, internal combustion engines and our society’s reliance on fossil fuels. And in the midst of one of his discourses he challenged me, his father, to take responsibility for the mess the world was in. Can you imagine? And then he said something to the effect of “You say you serve and love God but how can you allow them to do what they do to His creation?” I sputtered out a response and he replied by saying “Why don’t you use your influence to do something?” You can tell he is an idealist by assuming that I have that much influence.
Although on my bulletin board I have a quote by that great American philosopher George Carlin who said “I have as much influence as the Pope just fewer people believe it.”