2001-07-09 - Threatening Butterflies
Genesis 1:28 "And God blessed them; and God said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky, and over every living thing that moves on the earth'"
There is an ordinance in City Grove, California that makes it a misdemeanor to kill or threaten a butterfly. Like many people I do try to avoid killing creatures in God's kingdom. My experience, however, is that when I only threaten butterflies I have little success. The concept, in Scripture, that we are given the responsibility to rule over the creation, is firmly rooted in the Creation account in Genesis 1. What does that mean? What responsibilities do we have to do to fulfill our duty?
The extent of my involvement in the environmental movement is simple recycling. Is that enough? Should I be doing more? The question regarding a Christian's responsibility to the creation is not an easy one. We have been given a task. We are to rule the creation (Genesis 1:26). I guess I would say that this responsibility is one that we should fulfill much like we fulfill our other duties before God.
We need not board a nuclear submarine boat and chain ourselves to it to fulfill our call to rule the creation. Everything we do, this duty included, we should do with informed care. Rather than trying to fix all the problems with the environment we should seek to do at least a little more than our part in our corner of the world. This might mean keeping our yards clean or picking up the trash that gathers on the side of our street. I remember a man in our town who walked his dog everyday with an empty bag. He walked his dog until he had filled the bag with trash from the side of the road. He was simply doing his part, a small thing, but he was making a difference in his corner of the world.
Matthew 5:13 reminds us that we are the salt of the earth. This means that we are to have an impact in all areas of life that we enter into. It is part of being Christ's representatives on this earth, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ..." 2 Corinthians 5:20. Taking care of the creation is part of the mandate given to us in the Creation. Some people become heavily involved in this task, others may need to think about doing more in this area, but all of us have a responsibility to fulfill this part of God's plan for us.
Being a "vessel for honor," (2 Timothy 2:21) in the service of Christ is certainly a multifaceted part of our lives. Our gifts, abilities, desires, callings, opportunities, and successes all vary from person to person. This is part of the wonder of the diversity found in the kingdom of God. We are all parts fitting together like and orchestra seeking to make a beautiful sound in praise to our Savior. We make this sound as we live our lives in the light of the gospel. As we grow in the grace of Christ, it is to be hoped that the grace of Christ will filter down into more and more of the avenues of our lives.
Soli Deo Gloria,