Thursday, September 04, 2014

Our Work With God's Creation

Sunday morning our life group talked about how God has given us responsibility over His creation ...

*** Question - What chores were you responsible for growing up? What chores do your kids do?

With new freedoms growing up comes responsibility. Getting a pet means walking out or feeding it. A driver's license means running errands.

*** God has given us freedom to enjoy His creation, but with responsibility to take care of it.

Creation of man, woman and the earth was supposed to be a relationship of perfect harmony. In Genesis God places Adam in a beautiful garden and provides his needs according to God’s rules. God asked all humans to be stewards of the environment in Genesis 1:28, when He said to Adam and Eve, "Be fruitful and increase in number, fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground." Genesis 2:15, Adam and Eve obey God’s instructions both to ‘work’ the land and to ‘take care of it’ (2:15). Sadly, it is not long before everything is spoiled by human sin. (Truth For Life Resources)

Leviticus 25:1-3

25 The Lord spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai: 2 “Speak to the Israelites and tell them: When you enter the land I am giving you, the land will observe a Sabbath to the Lord. 3 You may sow your field for six years, and you may prune your vineyard and gather its produce for six years.

*** The Israelites were coming out of slavery and 40 years of wandering the wilderness. In the Promised Land they would have freedoms not known for generations.

*** It's important to remember that our enjoyment of God's creation should encourage us to praise Him and give Him glory.

*** Question - For you, is caring for creation a political issue, a biblical issue, or a non-issue? Why do you think environmental issues become so political?

--- Politically you have the folks who would get rid of humanity to save the planet, and others who say we are the top of the food chain and can exploit natural resources as we wish.

Leviticus 25:4-5

4 But there will be a Sabbath of complete rest for the land in the seventh year, a Sabbath to the Lord: you are not to sow your field or prune your vineyard. 5 You are not to reap what grows by itself from your crop, or harvest the grapes of your untended vines. It must be a year of complete rest for the land.

*** God was teaching the Israelites a lesson, that everything comes from the Lord, and the way we use it shows our level of trust in Him.

--- By giving the land a year of rest, the Israelites were almost totally dependent on God as their provider. This wasn't a random test. All God's command are for our benefit. For example, it helps the land to let it lie fallow for a season. Doing so replenishes the soil, leading to stronger crops in the yard to follow.

--- QUESTION: Do you have enough faith to not work for a year? Could you save up during the six years, and then just not work your land, so to speak, for the seventh?

*** God desires for us to recognize the same truth as the Israelites 2,000 years ago:

--- He has given you what you have.
--- He is the One taking care of you now.
--- He will continue to be your ultimate provider.

Leviticus 25:6-7

6 Whatever the land produces during the Sabbath year can be food for you—for yourself, your male or female slave, and the hired hand or foreigner who stays with you. 7 All of its growth may serve as food for your livestock and the wild animals in your land.

*** God teaches the Israelites that as they are provided for, they must provide for others, such as servants, hired hands, and livestock.

God's command is to use what He gives us to take care of ourselves and benefit others. The study guide asks us to consider these questions:

--- If you're an employer, how are you taking care of those who work for you?

--- How are you using what God has given you to benefit those less fortunate than you?

--- How are you using what God has given you to help people around the world?

*** Do not draw attention to yourself as giving handouts; draw praise to God as the ultimate provider. The greatest blessing will be more people coming to know Him for eternity.

*** QUESTION – Do you use cloth diapers? Do you follow Sheryl Crow’s advice to use one sheet of TP? Are low-flow toilets and showers evil? What are some changes you can make in your lifestyle that will fulfill God’s desire concerning your care of His creation?

*** There is actually a Southern Baptist Environment and Climate Initiative. It’s an independent coalition of Southern Baptist pastors, leaders, and laypersons who believe in stewardship that is both biblically rooted and intellectually informed.

(1) Humans Must Care for Creation and Take Responsibility for Our Contributions to Environmental Degradation.

(2) It Is Prudent to Address Global Climate Change

(3) Christian Moral Convictions and Our Southern Baptist Doctrines Demand Our Environmental Stewardship.

(4) It Is Time for Individuals, Churches, Communities and Governments to Act.

LIVE IT OUT

How can we fulfill our responsibility to care for God's creation this week?

--- Steward your space. You can't fix the world, but you can make a difference where you are. Choose to take a small step by recycling, picking up trash, planting a garden, etc.

--- Shop responsibly. Reward companies that have taken steps toward carrying for God's creation.

--- Serve the world. Do missions to experience the joy of giving to others because of what God has given you.

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