Caring for Creation

With the coming of fall, many of us have set aside vacations, excursions to lakes and rivers, bicycle and camping trips, and all the other activities associated with summer.

Soon many of us will be thinking about the arrival of winter winds and snow. Fall can be a wonderful time of transition back to school and work.

It is also a wonderful time to reflect on God’s faithfulness, from season to season and year to year. Even at this stage of my life, I still have a childlike awe of God, his faithfulness, and his creative power.

This summer, for the first time, I discovered that a milkweed plant produces a beautiful flower. In all my years of observing milkweed growing along the roads and in open fields, I had never noticed one in blossom. The flower is delicate and beautiful—a tribute to God’s creative power.

I discovered this seemingly insignificant masterpiece shortly after returning home from Synod 2010. As I paused to enjoy the moment, my mind jumped back to the creation care discussion at synod. I was reminded of the letters and emails I received on this issue. I recalled the passionate pleas from those on both sides of the “global warming” debate. I remembered the questions about science and the role of the church.

And then, in my mind, I heard the words of Jesus, “Consider how the lilies grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today, and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, how much more will he clothe you, O you of little faith!” (Luke 12:27-28).

God clothes the grass of the field. Amazing! The milkweed—a weed even by name—is clothed by God. In merely a few short days milkweed flowers are gone. Many are never seen. They hold no apparent human value or purpose, yet God made them. God adorned a weed with beauty and grace.

I cannot help but wonder: if God cares so much about his creation that he adorns a weed a few days each year, perhaps we, who are created in God’s image, ought also to care deeply for God’s creation.

God is interested in how we use the resources he provides. God is concerned about how we approach issues that impact his world.

Could we begin by admitting that our actions have consequences? What might happen if we spent less time discussing and arguing about the political issues surrounding creation care and more time caring for creation?

Is it possible that by taking the lead on creation care, we could demonstrate to the world that God is the creator and God loves his creation? After all, “This Is Our Father’s World.” And in the words of that old hymn, “I rest me in the thought of rocks and trees, of skies and seas; his hands the wonders wrought.”

Synod said it well: “Our world belongs to God the Creator. The Lord calls us to care for creation faithfully and to use its riches obediently and justly. Human sin has corrupted our ability and desire to care for creation. And God calls Christians to be prophetic and faithful in our stewardship in the name of the risen Christ.”

As members of the Christian Reformed Church, let us pray for wisdom as we address the issues of creation care. Let us seek to be worthy stewards of all that God has provided and, in doing so, proclaim God’s praise and glory.

About the Author

Jerry Dykstra served as the executive director of the Christian Reformed Church in North America from 2006-2011.
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