Creation Cares: Thoughts to Ponder
God through creation provides for us every day
“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
– Matthew 25:34-36 (NIV)
Have you read this passage through the lens of creation care? I haven’t before. Maybe it’s because I, too, have fallen into the belief that planting trees and raising salmon are something I do as a specialist but not as a missional Christian proclaiming the gospel to the world. When I think about what it looks like to follow this passage, I think of bringing baked goods and fruit baskets to lonely seniors, holding coat drives and organizing Christmas hampers, don’t you? But, wait… aren’t those all parts of creation?
Creation + Mission
While it is possible to care for the created world and not acknowledge God, it is impossible to acknowledge God and not interact with creation. We cannot take creation out of the gospel for it is the very thing that allows us to fulfill that gospel and share the good news.
Envision a missionary who does not use the gifts of creation to show hospitality. It is just not possible. When we feed the hungry we give them created things, when we quench the thirst of someone we give them created things, when we heal the sick we use created things, when we visit those in prison we use the sound waves created by our vocal cords to provide comfort – created things.
And doesn’t creation (or more accurately God through creation) do this for us every day?
What if we saw the “I” in this passage as ourselves and the “you” as God through the gift of creation and filled out the passage like this:
For I (Cindy) was hungry and God gave me carrots and wheat and blueberries and spinach and soil to grow them in and bees to pollinate the flowers.
I was thirsty and God gave me clean, cool water from the streams, aquifers, lakes and clouds, and juice from berries and fruits to quench my thirst.
I was a stranger and God gave me wood from the forest to create a home, and friends (also created) with vocal cords and sound waves and ears to comfort and guide me as we chatter around my wooden table, drinking tinctures of leaves and berries.
I needed clothes and God gave me cotton, hemp and bamboo plants, animal skins and products made from ancient plants and animals to fashion into clothing that keeps me warm, dry and protected.
I was sick and God gave me herbs and oils to look after my wounds and vitamins and soil microorganisms to help my body fight the sickness.
I was imprisoned in my own mind, bound by my fears and loneliness and God brought me chickadees to feed at my feeder, the trickling of the stream to comfort my spinning mind and glorious rays of sunshine to curl up in.
I am filled with gratitude for creation. God creates physical, tangible provision every day for all our needs!
Sharing God’s Gifts
Now add in the call from God to do this for “the least of these,” which is the original context of this message, and my heart bursts with excitement. In a sense, Jesus is saying, “share creation’s gifts freely with your family, neighbours, friends – everyone who God puts in your path – and by default you will be sharing it with me.”
An A Rocha friend once said “When God gives us a word, He gives us everything we need to be able to follow that call.” Creation is that everything!
God has provided us the tools we need to fulfill the call in Matthew 25:34-36. When we plant trees that give breath and raise salmon that give life, we are joining God in building more tools to carry on the work. Maybe creation care is more a part of the Christian mission than we have come to believe. Maybe, just maybe, we can’t separate the two as much as we’d like.