February 25, 2014

Revelation 11:18 “The time has come for judging the dead,
and for rewarding your servants the prophets
and your saints and those who reverence your name,
both small and great –
and for destroying those who destroy the earth.”

I get two major things from this verse. One is a common understanding, and the other might be surprising to some. The first is that we will indeed all be rewarded according to the level of our faithfulness. This is a common theme throughout the Bible, actually. Hebrews 6:10 is a good example: “God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.” The second point, that some might find surprising, is the logical conclusion to what God did in the Garden of Eden, entrusting the earth to mankind. In Genesis 2:15 it says, “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” We certainly have a very spotty track record on that score! That’s not at all to say that we aren’t to develop the land or that industrialization is bad, but it does mean we are caretakers, and should act accordingly. It is certainly idolatry to worship “Mother Earth,” and sadly, much of the conservation movement seems to lean that direction. However, that aberration does not negate the statement in this verse that God will destroy those who destroy the earth. Currently, “climate change” is used as a tool to force political control over people’s lives, but that doesn’t change our individual responsibility to be respectful stewards of the planet we live on.

I have been aware of, and disturbed by, pollution for most of my life. Because Japan developed an efficient system for collecting human waste many centuries ago, they didn’t have the pressure to develop a sewer system like Europe and America did, and even today there are areas where sink and laundry runoff simply goes into the nearest stream. Naturally, that creates major problems. However, Japan also has a track record of tackling pollution issues once they are widely recognized, and of doing a good job with them. Back in the ’60s, for example, the air in Yahata City (now Yahata Ward of Kitakyushu City) was literally orange, because of the massive iron and steel making industry centered there. Today, the air is clear, with no strange smells, and it’s not because the blast furnaces have gone away; they have learned to control the pollution. I am no believer in “man-made global warming,” but I believe that those who love the Lord should respect His creation. That said, anything material is certainly secondary to the salvation of souls. Here too, as in every other area, I need God’s wisdom and guidance!

Father, life is indeed complicated. Help me be faithfully obedient to all You show me, and lead others to have the same attitude, so that together we may be pleasing to You, 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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