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in Wisdom

Caring For Creation Is A Christian Endeavor

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By Chris Martin:

I recently received a copy of The Story of Everything by Jared Wilson. Jared’s a gifted writer, and I hope I write as well as he does when I grow up.

I was reading through The Story of Everything the other day, and I came across this passage on creation care, and I found it to be helpful:

On the one hand, some people look at creation as the be-all and end-all, and they will be incredibly surprised on that day when creation gets better and they have to miss out. But if you follow nature’s trail to nature’s Maker and worship him alone, everything else will get thrown in with it. You can have those walks on the beach. You might even be able to walk across the oceans from continent to continent. This comes from believing not what you see right now, but from believing what you hear in the words in that map called the Bible.

On the other hand, some people care too little for creation. “This world is not my home,” they say, but they’ve mistaken the sinful way of the world’s systems and the spiritual darkness at work in creation with the created world itself. The created world is our home, and it will be our home. And just because God is going to change it, to fix it, doesn’t mean it’s our job to contribute to its degradation.

Therefore, there is a way to care about creation too much and there is a way to care about creation too little. With Christ’s gospel at the center of our lives and his restoration of the broken world in view, then, we can engage in respectful, diligent creation care that gives God glory.

If he declared the world good, why would we mistreat it? It is fallen, yes, but so are our neighbors, and God has commanded us to love them. One way we might love our neighbors, in fact, is by working to care for the world we all live in. This, in a sense, “makes the world a better place” but, more importantly, it casts a vision for the day when God actually makes the world a better place. With appropriate creation care—respecting our environments, reducing wastefulness and pollution, treating the animal world humanely, etc.—we depict God’s future plans for the earth.

Still, God has a plan for everything. Not just for mankind and creation, but for what we make of it all.

A Meaningful Beauty

It’s all about the balance. We must care for creation, tending it as God tasked us in the Garden, but we must not worship it either.

The world in which we live is not merely the stage upon which the drama of our lives is performed.

I must confess: I’m not really an “outdoorsy” guy, primarily because I hate bugs and all other sorts of creepy-crawlies. But on our recent trip to Niagara Falls I was reminded of the natural beauty of the world around it and how all of it is purposed to declare the magnificence and glory of God.

If natural wonders such as Niagara Falls do not exist to give glory to God, they simply exist as a coincidental creation of a chaotic world and they are beautiful for no other reason than they look pretty to the human eye.

The beauty of the world, like the beauty of my wife or your children, is a profound beauty that includes, yet goes beyond, aesthetics that are pleasing to the human eye.

As a result, as faithful followers of Jesus, we must look at the world around us not as a springboard into eternity, but as a peek into glory. We humans are the only part of creation which bear the image of God, but all of creation shows the imagination of God.

The world in which we live is not merely the stage upon which the drama of our lives is performed. Our environment is the work of the same divine mind that created us and knows the number of hairs on our heads.

Perhaps we should think of our world less as something to be consumed and more as something to be protected.

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in Prayer

We Struggle To Pray Because It Feels Like A Waste Of Time

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By: Chris Martin

One of the authors I coach has a book coming out in September, and we are in the process of ramping up some strategy in anticipation of the book launch. As much as I love serving authors as they serve their readers, the fact is that success is often measured by numbers more than it is measured by how much everyone feels helped.

I can serve authors so well they promise never to publish with another company, but when it comes down to it, blog stats and other metrics matter. How much everyone likes each other doesn’t necessarily measure success.

This is difficult for me.

I am most comfortable when success is measured by how well people are served rather than by how many people are served. In short, I focus on quality over quantity almost to a fault—because metrics and stats do matter, especially when you’re running a business.

Good feelings don’t pay salaries and bills, unfortunately.

Because of this battle with metrics and measures, prayer can feel like a burden. This is a problem.

Why Does Prayer Feel Like a Waste of Time?

Prayer feels like a lack of action, sometimes.

When I am forming strategies and planning meetings to help with a book launch, I think to stop and pray, but it feels like a burden.

Why?

Praying feels like a burden when you’re trying to accomplish a task, like meeting a sales number or a certain number of page views, because praying for God to help meet those needs feels petty and self-centered.

I sometimes think, “Why should I stop to pray for God to help with this project instead of doing more to help the project myself?”

Somehow, in my sin, I think that God doesn’t have any interest in helping with this project.

He has too many sick people to heal and travels upon which he must show mercy—he doesn’t have time for my work project.

This is a lie that weasels itself into my head, and yours too, at times, I’m sure.

The work we do on a daily basis, whether at a construction site or in a cubicle, matters to God. Our work is not divorced from his will and how he is to bring about his plans.

We miss out on engaging with the God of the universe because we think our plans and projects aren’t important enough for his attention, or because we busy ourselves to the point of sinful God-neglect.

Three Simple Prayers to Pray for Your Work

We need to stop and pray for our work. Don’t know how or what to pray? Here’s a start:

1. Give me wisdom.

In the spring of my freshman year of college, I was reading about Solomon and how the Lord answered his prayers for wisdom. I said, “If Solomon did this and the Lord listened, maybe he’ll listen to me,” and he did. God grants wisdom when you ask for it. Ask the Lord for understanding, and trust the Lord to give it to you.

2. Keep me humble.

Humility is incredibly difficult to maintain for anyone, but it becomes even more difficult when the Lord answers your prayers for wisdom. When the Lord gives you wisdom, you will be tempted to glory in yourself rather than God. Resist this temptation, and pray that the Lord would remind you of who you are in light of who he is.

3. Make me grateful.

Praise God for all he has done for you, and ask him to keep your heart thankful, protecting it from becoming entitled. You didn’t earn anything you have. The only way you can enjoy the blessings of wisdom, humility, health, or other such blessings is because of the grace God has shown you in Christ. So, as you pray, praise God for what he has done, and ask him to remind you to praise him when you’re tempted to praise yourself.

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