Stewardship of the Earth; June 30, 2017

1 Kings 5:10-11 In this way Hiram kept Solomon supplied with all the cedar and pine logs he wanted, and Solomon gave Hiram twenty thousand cors of wheat as food for his household, in addition to twenty thousand baths of pressed olive oil. Solomon continued to do this for Hiram year after year.

It seemed incredible just a generation or two ago that the land of Israel would have been such an agricultural powerhouse as to be able to export such quantities of wheat and olive oil, but today Israel is again an agricultural exporter. We get “Sweetie” grapefruit even here in Japan! Given wisdom from God, the Jews have developed irrigation techniques that have caused the desert to blossom, even to the point of changing the climate. Conversely, Lebanon was once famous for cedar and other trees that provided a major source of their wealth, but today it’s hard to locate such trees anywhere but on their flag. Greed and political turmoil have robbed them of what God had originally provided. Israel too has had a succession of wars over the past 70 years, but they have managed to restore the land in spite of, and even in the middle of, all of that. The loss of the forests of Lebanon has had a major drying effect on the climate of the whole region, which is why Israel’s high-tech irrigation systems are in such demand. Human history shows that there is certainly such a thing as man-made climate change, but it has come from human impact on vegetation rather than from “greenhouse gasses.” Ancient Egyptian records show that timber was once harvested in the Sinai Peninsula! Today that seems downright unimaginable, to the point that the archaeologists who discovered the documents doubted first their own translation and then the documents’ authenticity. Solar cycles are the biggest driver of climate, but mankind is certainly responsible for stewardship of the earth, ever since Eden. We are not to be deceived by politically motivated “movements,” but we are to respect what God has provided and “clean up after ourselves,” as my mother always told me.

This feels very close to home right now, because workers are in the process of clearing all the trees from the land next door. That has been emotionally painful to watch, since some of the trees were over 100 years old. However other trees, when cut have revealed that they had been hollowed out by termites, and so were in need of being culled. That said, the whole neighborhood is in shock and mourning over the loss of the major “green island” we have enjoyed. As Cathy has said, it is actually a blessing to the church that we had nothing to do with the decision to cut it all down, because the result is proving to be a strengthening rather than a worsening of our ties with the neighborhood. That said, if we do indeed get the three building plots we have asked for, we need to be careful and intentional in what trees we plant around the senior care facility we are planning, so that we will over time be a channel of restoration, blessing people and giving glory to God.

Father, thank You for this word this morning. I pray that the work on the land would proceed as You intend, and that the eventual use of every bit of it would likewise be according to Your plan. May we keep our eyes on You and be good stewards, not only of the material things but also of the abilities and opportunities You provide, for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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