THERE'S A POOR MAN IN THE GARDEN
In the Special Revelation of Scripture we learn that God entrusted humanity with the care of the earth. We were intended to enjoy and attend to the natural world.
This included naming the animals. God designed us to study and identify the vast multitude of types and species. God could have done the naming, but He wanted us to share in the pleasure and understanding that comes from intimate study of Creation. In the recognition of each creature, we hear the whispered Name of the Creator.
The care of Creation includes gardening, herding and nurturing. We have been created as responsible creatures capable of thinking and acting for the best good of Creation. There has never been more of a time in history when we need to act responsibly toward the earth God has given us.
Jesus addressed the consuming anxieties of people in that day. Where will I get the food, clothes and shelter I need to survive? That same anxiety has driven greed for possessions and the accumulation of wealth. The hopes of wealth drive our industries to the point of losing sight of our role as caretakers in God’s world.
The BP Oil Spill in the Gulf Of Mexico was avoidable. The depletion of the ozone layer and the ravaging of the rain forests are avoidable. The extinction of countless thousands of God-created species has been largely avoidable from a human perspective. The bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was avoidable. Kuwait did not have to be turned into an environmental disaster. Behind every war, there are great anxieties and greed lighting the fuse. This exemplifies the great lengths we will go to reject the responsibility given to care for Creation.
Jesus reminds us that we are far more valuable to God than grasslands which wither and die. God’s eye is on the sparrow and certainly much more upon humanity. God has more than provided the sustenance and self-worth that we need as the high point of His Creation.
Jesus says, “Do not be afraid, because the Father has given the little ones His Kingdom.” He encourages people to liquidate the earthly treasures in favor of caring for the poor. This act stores up a treasure that will survive into the coming of God’s Kingdom. That which we value here is the treasure that gets stored in our hearts.
John Piper has some valuable insights into the idea that Christians are supposed to be wealthier because of their faith.
When Jesus said, “Sell your possessions, and give to the needy” (Luke 12:33), he seemed to imply not that the disciples were wealthy and could give from their overflow. It seems they had so few liquid assets that they had to sell something in order to have something to give.
Why would preachers want to encourage people to think that they should possess wealth in order to be a lavish giver? Why not encourage them to keep their lives more simple and be an even more lavish giver? Would that not add to their generosity a strong testimony that Christ, and not possessions, is their treasure?[i]
When your heart worries about the environment and the social ills of our day, consider the faithfulness of God and choose where to store your treasure. This is the watershed question we all face. Will we live in this world with our eyes on the coming Kingdom? Will we live responsibly towards Creation and love the poor in Jesus’ name?
[i] John Piper, Let The Nations Be Glad, Baker Academic http://www.desiringgod.org/Blog/2391_to_prosperity_preachers_grow_lavish_givers/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed:+DGBlog+(DG+Blog)