Today’s devotional: oil spills and the responsibility of stewardship

When your family gathers together during the holidays, are there certain discussion topics that are declared off-limits at the dinner table? For example, a number of families I know avoid the subject of politics at family gatherings.

It might seem odd, but my large, Christian family has added another topic to our list of taboos: Creation theology. Everybody’s got a strong opinion (were the days of creation literal 24-hour days? Could God have used evolution as his means of creating the world? etc.), and we’ve learned over the years that dinner-table debates over that particular article of faith create more heat than light.

And so I was intrigued by the latest devotional from Wonder of Creation, which offers a fresh perspective on the opening chapters of Genesis and on the mandate it contains for Christians today. It suggests that the most critical component of the Genesis account is not the specific details of the act of Creation, but the call to Christian stewardship over God’s Creation. That call to stewardship assigns us responsibility for taking care of Creation, and also holds us accountable for harm that we allow to befall it:

…we do know, according to Genesis 2:15 that we are to “take care of it,” and we know according to Psalm 145 that it showcases our Creator’s majesty and that He has compassion on it. Hence the Gulf oil spill disaster is not merely a human tragedy taking the lives of creatures made in His image, nor is it merely an economic calamity: it should be a cause of human grief and shame—in that we have once again profaned the handiwork of God and have also needlessly destroyed the lives of non-human creatures upon which He has compassion.

That’s one reason the prophecy of Revelation 11:18 sobers me: “The nations were angry; and your wrath has come. The time has come for judging the dead, and for rewarding your servants the prophets and your saints and those who reverence your name, both small and great—and for destroying those who destroy the earth.” None of us knows all the implications of that passage, but for sure we know that mankind’s destroying of the earth will be severely judged.

Most Christians can agree about this call to creation care, but it’s sobering to consider ecological disasters like the BP oil spill not just as breakdowns of energy policy or private business, but as failures of stewardship. When environmental disaster strikes, are Christians at the forefront of efforts to care for the damaged Creation left behind by the crisis?

4 Responses to “Today’s devotional: oil spills and the responsibility of stewardship”

  • I am not a so-called “tree hugger”. I am concerned however that we only get riled up and protective when we experience destruction and damage of large propportions to our natural environment. As I take daily walks along trails and old logging roads in the woods, I am always saddened to see so much abuse of God’s creation and natural beauty. For example, trails become widened every year to make room for off road recreational vehicles and snowmobiles but so wide that it actually would allow three lanes of traffic in many areas. Signs are nailed to trees everywhere. Cans, wrappers and a myriad of non-biogradable discards can be seen all over the place. Wildlife is driven higher or deeper into what’s left of their natural habitat. I am all for recrteation – RESPONSIBLE recreation, but not to the extent that it equates to poor stewardship and unnmecessary invasion of wooded lands.

  • Sean Scott says:

    In the closing sentence you ask, “are Christians at the forefront of efforts to care for the damaged Creation left behind by the crisis?”


    Not because Christians don’t want to be at the forefront. I believe that we should be, and that most real Christians who really believe and follow the lessons and commandments of Jesus and Scriptures also feel the same way. The parable of the talents is an excellent example of how God views how we treat His creation He gave us to live in and care for.

    But sadly, most of us are not Christians. The number of people filling churches is shrinking. The number of people who follow the Bible as the primary source of guidance in their daily lives is shrinking.

    I am sure there are Christians in high places doing important jobs. However most of the private and civic leadership of our nation is not in true Christian hands. The dollar speaks louder to most people than the Bible.

    We are a people — here and elsewhere in the world — who seek material comforts and the money it requires to “buy happiness.” This drives our economy and our national policies. Whether you are a Wall Street banker or a drug dealer on the street corner, selling something to people to make money is the driving force at work behind the scenes. Many resort to selling themselves, to stealing, or just to compromising their principles in their act of worshiping the false god of materialism.

    We are a very immature and selfish society, and it is hurting not only God’s creation but others of His children elsewhere in the world. There are enough resources in the world to shelter, feed, clothe, cleanse, heal, equip, teach, train, and employ every single person. The problem is most of the world’s resources and wealth is controlled by the fewest, while the most of the world’s people have the least resources and wealth to use. That “love for money is a root of all kinds of evil” thing Paul spoke of in the Bible.

    No, Christians are not at the forefront of taking care of the damage. We need to be doing a better job of spreading God, The Good News, and the love of Jesus Christ. Now, more than ever, we need to amp up the power and shine brighter the light of Jesus into the darkness.

  • Truth Lives says:

    I have felt strongly since childhood that Nature and wild animals and all wild plant life should be protected. Over time, as I learned more about Nature and life cycles of our planet, etc…I have become even more convicted that protecting and safeguarding other life-forms, jungles, our oceans, etc is crucially important for the happiness and good health of all life-forms here on Earth.

    I am always perplexed when people only see ugliness in Nature and not the Hand of God. I am always perplexed when people treat Nature and other life-forms with great disrespect.

    God never gave us permission to destroy everything around us here on Earth. Dominate does not mean destroy…..but then again abusive spouses dominate and destroy. Hmmmm.

    Please fellow Christians take good care of God’s Creation and each other !!