Caring For God’s World

A tiny view of a small part of God’s big, beautiful world.

Summer and fall are great seasons to get out in nature and enjoy the big, beautiful world that God created. As summer winds down and fall enters the scene, take advantage of the cooler, yet nice days to get out and walk. Walk with your kids or your dog and simply enjoy all that God made. There is so much to see when we open our eyes to notice.

I love walking with young children. It can be slow going, but nothing escapes their notice. Recently I was walking with my one year old granddaughter and I was reminded once again of the amazing world in which we live. She stopped to pick up a rock, reached to touch a leaf, noticed the dandelions and touched the bark on a tree. Everything was interesting to her. She not only saw it, but she had to touch it and would have tasted it too, but I intervened. The outdoor world to her was full of amazing things to explore. Somewhere along the journey of growing up and taking on adult responsibilities, we lose the wonderment of the world around us. Our focus tends to narrow as other responsibilities demand our attention. I’m so glad that God gives us children to remind us of the amazing world in which we live.

Besides taking time to enjoy our world and recapture some of the wonderment of living in this beautiful world, God asked us to care for His world. When God made Adam and Eve, He told them to tend the garden He had placed them in. Still today, God asks us to care for the world He has placed us in. What does that mean and how can we begin to care for the world in which God has placed us? I think caring for God’s world involves more than just recycling and living green. It’s more than taking care of our yards or our little piece of the earth however big it might be. I think it involves our heart – our attitudes and our respect for God and others. I believe it involves living a little gentler and kinder. It’s realizing that what we have, is not really ours to begin with but rather belongs to God. Most of us didn’t own what we now possess a 100 years ago, unless it’s been in our family for generations. Someday we will leave this earth and what we currently own will pass into someone else’s hands. We are only caretakers of what we have while we are on this earth so let’s use what God has given us with care and respect.

Perhaps caring for the world starts with a giving mentality rather than a consuming mentality. What can I give to the world I live in? How can I cultivate or care for that which I’ve been given? What can I do to preserve it for other generations to come? These questions take us away from a selfish, what’s-in-it-for-me mentality to look through a much broader lens leading us to look beyond our here and now to the future and what we are doing for that future.

I challenge myself and you this week to get out and enjoy the beautiful world that God created. Thank Him for the beauty and wonder that you see and then ask yourself, what can I do to care for the world and care for the generations to come. See the side bar for a few simple ideas.

PS I am going to mention something that has bothered me lately as I’ve been out and about – all the trash I’ve seen alongside the road and in my neighborhood. We used to have a neighbor who ran a day care in her home and I think she knew everyone on the block. She was very friendly, organized a neighborhood block watch and had a neighborhood potluck party at her house every summer so that we could get know one another as neighbors. She organized an e-mail list and had certain Saturdays when the neighbors would get together to pick up trash on our street. She was truly an example of caring for people and the world – at least her corner of the world. She moved and no one has stepped up to take her place. I’m not sure I can adequately fill her shoes with my busy schedule, but I did take a trash bag out with me on my walk the other day and cleaned up as I walked the block. I’m trying to meet more of my neighbors. If I keep working at it, maybe I can get some others onboard too.

PARENT OR GRANDPARENT PRAYER:
Father God,
You have given so much. You gave me a beautiful world to live in. You give me food to eat, water to drink and people to enjoy life with. You didn’t stop there, you also freely gave your Son Jesus for me so that I could have relationship with you and you are still giving today. You gave me grace for each moment, strength when I am weary, hope when the darkness seems to close in, provision when I am in need. Thank you for all that you have given. Thank you for your beautiful world. Guide me Lord as I live in this world. Teach me to appreciate the beauty around me, to stop in wonder over the things you created and then teach me also to live generously and to care for the world that you have placed me in. I don’t want to be a consumer or a hoarder, continually accumulating and hanging on to more and more stuff. I want to be a giver, a planter, a tender and cultivator of good things. I want to live as a good steward of what you have given me and continually lift up the name of Jesus. Lord, sometimes I am appalled by the disregard I see in the world today. I feel like many have lost the wonder of your creation. I feel like some have forgotten to be thankful or care for that which they have been given. Thank you for giving us little ones to remind us of the beauty before us. Show us, show me, how I can cultivate that attitude of giving and appreciation in my family and friends. Amen

WAYS TO CARE FOR GOD’S WORLD
* There are many ways of caring for God’s world that you are probably already aware of – recycling, reusing, reducing paper and plastic waste and of course, picking up trash and being aware of what we throw away.

* What about helping others, the people that God made? Isn’t that caring for God’s world too? Slow your pace, smile at someone today, call a friend, help someone at work, hug your kids. Let someone know that you care.

* I think that caring for God’s world also means to learn to be content with what He has given us and showing gratitude for what we have.

* When we are content with what we have, we don’t need to accumulate, consume and grab for more and more. We can enjoy what we have and use it wisely. It also frees us to give to others. Give away that which you no longer use or need. For that matter just give.

* Appreciate what you do have and take care of it. It will last longer and perhaps we can avoid filling up more landfills with our “stuff” if we take care of what we have.

* Take care of your pets or the animals which God has placed in your care. Animals are also part of the world God created. How can you help animals around the world?

* Care for your neighborhood. Get to know your neighbors. Take pride in your neighborhood. I know we are all busy, but try to get your neighbors involved too. Keep your little piece of the world clean.

Kid’s Section

SHARE A STORY: God Made Everything – Genesis 1
God made day and God made night. – (Stretch and pretend to rest.)
He made the moon and stars so bright. – (Reach for the stars.)
He made the sky, the clouds floating by, – (Wave arms gently.)
And He made the sea, oh me, oh my! –
(Make waves with hands and look surprised.)
He made the land for plants to grow, -(Push fingertips through the fingers of your other hand as though a plant is growing.)
Trees, and plants grow high and low. – (Reach high and low.)
He made fish, birds and animals of every size and shape. –
(Swim like a fish. Flap like a bird.)
At the zoo, I like to watch the monkeys and the great big ape. –
(Say,“Ooh! Ooh!”)
Then when God was finished with all of His creating,
He set aside a day for resting and celebrating. – (Say, “Yeah God!”)
Yes, God created everything, but this one thing I know, –
(Put up one finger.)
God made you special because He loves you so. – (Give self a hug.)

Let’s thank God for all He created and remember to care for our world this week. God gave us a beautiful world to enjoy and He wants us to help care for His world. Caring for God’s world means that we love and care for people too. You are helping to care for God’s world when you pick up your toys, help mom and dad, love and share with others and take care of your pets. I’m thankful for all God made. I’m thankful for the people He made. I’m thankful that God gave us so many good things that we can share with others. God is good!

MEMORIZE: Ps. 139:14 NIrV – (Hold hands like holding a book.)
How you – (Point up.)
Made me – (Point to self)
Is amazing – (Close fists and open outwards.)
And wonderful – (Raise hands and jump.)

PRAYER: Encourage your child to say one sentence prayers thanking God for what He created too.
Dear God,
Thank you for all the things you made. I’m glad you made the world and I’m glad you made me. Help me to care for the world and care for others because I know everything belongs to you. I belong to you too. Thank you for all the good things that you give me and for taking good care of me. Amen

KNOW: God made the world and everything in it.
TALK ABOUT: Everything belongs to God.
ASK: Who made the world? God made the world.
What can you do? Be thankful for all God made and care for His world.

FUN IDEAS FOR THIS WEEK

  • Enjoy the last of the summer weather, take a walk, go to the playground. Enjoy the wonderful world that God made.
  • Thank God for what He has made and especially for the things He has given you. Say with your child, “Thank you God for __.” Think of ways to take care of God’s world.
      


Author: faithstepsandmore

I am a mom of three, grandmother of eight and have worked with young children for over thirty years. I currently write curriculum, speak for women's groups, do chapel for a daycare center and help with teacher/volunteer training at churches. I love what I do. There is nothing better than helping kids take those first steps of faith in a God who loves them more than they can imagine.

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