When I was 10 years old, I wanted a new bicycle. For a long time, I had had my eye on a Schwinn Corvette. It was a beauty and, being a person of good taste (even at the age of 10), I insisted that I had to have that particular bike.
The problem was that it cost more money than I had saved. I had enough for the model with the painted fenders, but I wanted shiny chrome fenders. Being short on cash, I cajoled and pleaded until my father gave in and contributed some of his. I will never forget the day my new bike arrived. I was absolutely giddy with delight. Thanks to my parents’ generosity, I now had the best bike in the neighborhood.
But the story didn’t end there. Life changes rapidly when one is 10. By the time I was 13, chrome fenders and fancy headlights were no longer “in.” Now it was cool to have a stripped-down bike with no fenders, no accessories, and no frills. So I took out my dad’s tools and stripped away those pieces.
I will never forget the look on my father’s face when he saw what I had done. His expression was one of surprised disappointment. He gently reminded me how much I had insisted on those chrome fenders and other frills, then he quietly walked away.
I learned a few lessons that day about the value of things, about priorities, and about a parent’s unconditional love; but most of all I learned something about gifts. When I saw the disappointment on my father’s face, I realized that casting aside the chrome fenders told him how little I valued that gift.
One has to wonder how God reacts when he sees his children misuse and abuse the gifts he has given us. All too often, I find myself acting like the 13-year-old me. I take God’s beautiful creation and abuse it, even destroy it, for my own convenience and personal satisfaction. I take my God-given talents and abilities and misuse them. I spend my financial resources on fleeting moments of personal gratification.
We live in a culture that aborts the unborn, destroys the environment, abuses the poor, consumes the earth’s resources at an unprecedented rate, and generally pays little or no heed to the Father who provides it all.
Let’s never forget that our world belongs to God. This simple but profound statement has the power to change how we think about God and how we think about our world. It sets the proper foundation for our thinking, our behavior, our discussions. This world is not ours to do with as we please. Creation was here when we arrived and it will be here when we leave. It belongs to God who, in his love and kindness, has lent it to us for a time.
This month, the Church at Work section of The Banner focuses on creation care. I invite you to read it carefully and thoughtfully. Ask yourself these questions: How should Christians treat God’s world? Does it make a difference that we understand that our world is God’s creation and not simply the result of some cosmic forces?
You and I do not care for this world simply because it is the politically correct thing to do. Nor do we do so because it is popular to be “green.” We do so because this world and everything in it belongs to God, who has appointed us to be stewards of all he has made.
Synod recently reminded us that we, as the Christian Reformed Church, are called to care for this world. It told the Board of Trustees to instruct the denominational staff to give greater attention to creation stewardship as it works with CRC members and congregations.
It is my hope and prayer that each of us will work faithfully and diligently so that the look on our Father’s face will be one of satisfaction and pleasure in response to the care his children have taken with his gifts.