• Rebecca Hoverd

Stewarding Creation well

The beauty of Creation

How delightful is it to see the sky lit up in yellows, pinks, oranges, reds? A beautiful sunset or sunrise always catches people’s eyes as they look upon it in wonder. Or how about a leisurely walk along the beach, listening to the sound of sand crunch beneath your feet, looking at the ocean lapping at the shore, or out at the horizon.

Maybe you enjoy walking through a lush, green forest or the bush, feeling in touch with the earth, birdsong filling the air. How about taking a wintery holiday – looking up at the majestic, snow-capped mountains; breathing in fresh, crisp air.

Perhaps simply looking up at the bright, blue sky on a crystal clear day, sun shining, is enough to put a bounce in your step.

Yeah, that might sound a bit cheesy if it’s not really your thing but the truth is, don’t most of us just love being in nature? Doesn’t a beautiful sunset, or the fresh crispness of the air, or the general beauty of nature around us, hit that sweet spot of your soul, where you feel satisfied?

What our souls need

I think we truly yearn for time in nature, yet a lot of us live busy lives in the city and ignore that. I think our souls cry out for that peace and quiet and beauty of nature. I believe there are parts of us that can only find rest in the natural environment.

Maybe this is best illustrated through a well-known psalm.

‘The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing.

He makes me lie down in green pastures,

he leads me beside quiet waters,

he refreshes my soul.’

- Psalm 23:1-3

Doesn’t that just show how we need green pastures and quiet waters? God uses this image to provide us rest and refreshment of our souls. I think it perhaps illustrates how the environment can play a role in our wellbeing.

But if you take a look at the news

Local councils are declaring climate change emergencies. Governments are banning plastic everywhere. There are estimations on how much longer the earth can support our way of living.

For something that provides so much for us, we aren’t really looking after it, are we?

And yet, God calls us to be stewards of creation:

God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” (Genesis 1:28)

Despite being sinners, we’ve been gifted one of God’s most glorious creations, Creation itself. He calls us to rule over it.

The destruction

And yet, we’re neglecting it, but more than that, a lot of the time, we’re actively destroying it.

Think of the island-like rubbish patch floating in the Pacific Ocean.

Think of the dirty, polluted rivers snaking all through cities and downs.

Think of the Amazon rainforest – the rate of deforestation has apparently reached 1-2 acres of rainforest cleared every second.

Think of the people that don’t get to eat, that go hungry, because we use that land instead to grow maize for cows.

Think of the amount of rubbish we create daily – yeah, you might be a ‘tidy kiwi’ and put your rubbish in the bin, but where does that go?

For something that provides so much for us, we aren’t really looking after it, are we? And yet, God calls us to be stewards of creation

The call as Christians

I think for us as followers of Jesus, we actually have a responsibility to take better care of Creation. We didn’t create this beautiful wonder, but we get to enjoy and consume it everyday, and our souls need the beauty that it is.

‘For we have brought nothing into the world, so we cannot take anything out of it either (1 Timothy 6:7).’

Well, to be honest, I think it’s really important that we do our bit to help the environment: to clear up the quiet waters, for our souls; to keep the grass clean and green so we can play, but also be lead to lie down in it; to reduce the impact we make now so that our children and grandchildren can also reap the same benefits that we do now.

I present to you my top tips to reduce your personal environmental impact

  • Buy a KeepCup and take your own containers – you have sushi for lunch? Great, it’s yum and pretty good for you – but take a reusable container and it’ll be good for the environment too.

  • Eat less meat – straight up. You may be surprised to know that 2,500 gallons of water are needed to produce 1 pound of beef. 

  • Bamboo toothbrushes: it means less plastic.

  • Just say no! Do you really need to buy that top? We produce less waste when we consume less in the first place.

  • Or, if you must buy, instead shop at an opshop – you can get really cheap and pretty good quality kids toys for example and they will love it just the same, beautiful!

  • How about next time you need to go somewhere you walk or use public transport, or better yet, get amongst some community and car pool!

  • Instead of using disposable make up wipes, get a couple of face cloths and makeup remover, then simply put the cloths in the washing machine.

  • Try almond or soy milk in your next coffee and try consume a little less dairy.

A final note: we don’t need to do everything – it’s not necessarily possible. But I think if we each contributed our part, we may be surprised at how we can reduce the harm we cause to the environment, as we learn to be good stewards of Creation.

Rebecca Hoverd studies law and geography at The University of Auckland and loves writing as a way to communicate with God and to unpack her thoughts. She loves coffee, conversations, and would love to hear your feedback at rebeccahoverd@gmail.com. Photo by @rebeccahoverd

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