Psalm 148 encapsulates the symphony of praise surrounding the throne of God. The best part about this psalm is that it elevates and highlights the totality of His creation. Human praise is wonderful and beautiful, but the reality is that God delights in the praise of all of His creation, even the nonliving things like rocks and rivers. In Genesis 1 we see God creating every living and nonliving thing, and then He reaches His climax with the creation of man, made in His own image. We see this same order of creation first, then humans second in Genesis 8—9, where God first makes covenant with creation after the flood and then with mankind. Now again, in Psalm 148, the psalmist lists all of creation first, and then, lastly, mankind is brought into this collection of worshippers. You see, God cares about all of His creation; He listens to it all and daily sustains it. So, if God cares, loves, listens to, and sustains His creation, shouldn’t we?
In Colossians 1:15, we read that Jesus was there at the beginning in Genesis 1 creating all things. Do you stop to think about Jesus there at the beginning– sculpting the mountains, pouring the seas, and establishing the forests? Because He did those things and continues to sustain them daily.
Colossians 1:17 states that in Him, all things hold together. All things. Not just humans, but all of God’s praise-giving creation. Note that the author also doesn’t say “held”—He uses the present tense, “hold,” because God is right now holding every molecule, organism, and ecosystem in His grasp, nourishing it and loving it.
Lastly, it is crucial for us to see Jesus in the act of creating because it speaks volumes to His act of redeeming. God is committed to His original creation, so much that He was willing to die for it. It was because of man that all of creation was subjected to the fall. God’s creation was perfect, but it was corrupted by man’s sin. God is committed to His original creation—this is why we are able to be made new or born again in the salvation of Jesus. But, make no mistake, this redemptive act was not just for humans but for all of His original creation, and we see this in Colossians 1:20.
If God so loved the world, both the human and nonhuman world, both the living and nonliving world, that He was willing to send His only Son to redeem it, then aren’t we also as “stewards” called to this sacrificial love to take care of the planet He has entrusted us with?
We are called to take care of His creation, to steward it well, and to be ambassadors of Christ. Who better models this dominion and rule than Jesus? When Jesus came to this planet, how did He rule? How did He lead? He led by service. So we are to serve the very things He has given us. We are
to be willing to demonstrate this service and make sacrifices in order to preserve and protect the beauty all around us—the beasts of the land, the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and even the nonliving things like mountains, lakes, and rivers.
After all, by protecting His creation, we are encouraging His symphony of praise to continue from overture to crescendo, for He is certainly deserving of it all. True stewardship looks like service, it looks like sacrifice, and we are called to live lives of not only loving our neighbors but also loving the totality of God’s creation. The reality is, we can do both simultaneously. Here are a few practical ways you can love people and the planet together.
- Shop at your local farmer’s market. This will reduce your carbon footprint by not allowing food to travel so far (burning gas) to get to your kitchen. You will also be supporting your local farmer and engaging in a real, human conversation with him, and it’ll make you more aware of what you are putting into your body, which in turn will lead to a healthier lifestyle.
2. Consider eating less (red) meat. Animal agriculture is a large contributor to greenhouse gases, the leading cause of why climate change is occurring. The amount of resources (land, water, energy) required to produce meat is much higher than that of plants. Mainly because you have to produce all of the plants (mainly corn) and then feed them to the cows, where energy is lost along the way. This means it takes a lot of corn to make a little meat. Try doing “Meatless Mondays” or just removing meat from one of your meals per week.
3. Drive less. This will obviously reduce your fossil fuel consumption, but it’ll also help you live a more active lifestyle as you opt for the bicycle or a nice walk. Again, this means a healthier you and a healthier atmosphere.
4. Purchase Fair Trade or Rainforest Alliance coffee. Both of these organizations work to promote sustainability on coffee farms and for the farmers. Fair Trade ensures a better paycheck for the farmers, which means a better livelihood for them and their families. Rainforest Alliance focuses more on maintaining a healthy ecosystem on the farms, encouraging farmers to take care of their land. Look for either of these certifications when buying coffee at the market or coffee shop (always feel free to ask the barista).
5. Wash out your recyclables. More often than not, if your paper, plastic, or aluminum is dirty or covered in food waste, it will not get recycled and instead head straight to the landfill. Make sure to rinse your recyclables to rid the material of any food or beverage residue to ensure these items do in fact get recycled.