God Gave Us Stewardship, In His Likeness, To Love And Care For His creation (Genesis 1)
“The Lord was grieved that He had made man on the earth and His heart was filled with pain” (Genesis 6 v 6).
“I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh” (Genesis 9 v 12).
“They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain, for the earth shall be full of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11 v 9).
This Is Christ Jesus, Lord Of Creation . . .
“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End” (Revelation 21 v 6).
“He is the image of the invisible God, the first born over all creation. For by Him all things were created, all things were created by Him and for Him” (Colossians 1 v 15).
“And God made known to us the mystery of His will according to His good pleasure, which He purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfilment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ” (Ephesians 1 v 9-10).
This Is Contemporary Stewardship . . .
Christ Jesus sacrificed His own life on the Cross for the redemption of the world. He said, “Whosoever seeks to save his life will lose it” and asked, “What profiteth it a man if he gain the whole world and lose his own soul” (Matthew 16 v 25-26).
Mankind sacrifices millions of animals as laboratory tools in experiments which cause them grievous suffering, both physical and psychological.
These experiments take place in an attempt to enhance man’s own life and to increase his knowledge of warfare, drugs, alcohol and household goods etc. Is this Christ-like sacrifice?
Christ Jesus said, “I am the bread of life . . .” (John 6 v 35).
Countless millions of today’s food animals are reared in conditions which disregard their physical, psychological and behavioral needs.
Poultry, pigs and cows suffer the greatest exploitation of factory farming, but no food animal is entirely safe from the pressures of consumer demands and economic greed. Is this Christ-like food?
Bloodsports And Entertainment
Christ Jesus described the love of God for His creation as wondrously all-embracing. “Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God” (Luke 12 v 6).
Participants of bloodsports gain pleasure by terrifying, maiming and killing.
Wild animals used for entertainment, who would naturally be ranging large expanses of terrain, cannot possibly have their physical or psychological needs met when chained or confined to a cage. Is this Christ-like pleasure?
Christ Jesus said that true beauty lies within us, in a pure and merciful heart (Matthew 5 v 7-8).
Luxury furs are worn as symbols of wealth or of beauty.
To provide these symbols, millions of His wild animals die agonising deaths in traps or live cruelly confined lives in factory farms, only to be plucked or skinned alive. Is this Christ-like beauty?
Christ Jesus Will Return To Judge The Stewards Of His Creation (Luke 12)
“Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matthew 24 v 12).
“Who then is the faithful servant whom the Master has put in charge of the servants in His household to give them their food at the proper time? It will be good for that servant whose Master finds Him doing so, when He returns” (Matthew 24 v 45).
“The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me'” (Matthew 25 v 40).
According to the Bible, Jesus will return to claim His own and to judge us all. We are all fallen and must not judge one another. But this is not easy when His followers are constantly seen to be “passing by on the other side” when it comes to caring about His animal kingdom. It is important to remember that when Christ Jesus does return, He will expect more of His followers than of others, “That servant who KNOWS his master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what his master wants will be beaten with MANY blows. But the one who does NOT KNOW and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with FEW blows. From everyone who has been given much, MUCH will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, MUCH more will be asked” (Luke 12 v 47-48). Yet at the moment secular animal welfarists appear to be leading in the struggle against profit-motivated animal abuse. So what happened to our Christian responsibility to transform the world, rather than to be conformed to it? Isn’t our task to uphold Christ’s standard in the battle against evil wherever it is found, not to use the assurance of salvation as an excuse to ignore the suffering of His creatures? “Do not merely listen to the word and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says” (James 1 v 22). “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith, but has no deeds?” (James 2 v 14).
Unrepentant involvement in the exploitation of God’s creatures will be revealed at judgement and neither the Church, nor individual Christians, will be exempt from this.
Not only this but, in their implied complicity with animal abuse, Christians have played a huge part in the loss of the many thousands of animal welfarists who have turned away from Christ to embrace Eastern religions or New Age cults.
God Intends Restoring His Creation to His Original Perfect Will
This is the good news of the Gospel. It is to be done through Christ Jesus, whose incarnation is promised throughout the Old Testament and fulfilled in the New Testament. Jesus revealed His overwhelming love for all His creatures by His sacrificial death on the Cross, and His supreme authority by His Resurrection. “For God was pleased to have all His fullness dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile to Himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through His blood, shed on the Cross” (Colossians 1 v 19-20).
For the complete fulfillment of Redemption we must wait until Jesus returns to bring about judgment and justice for all His creatures. This is why both God’s people and God’s creation yearn for the coming of Christ to deliver them from suffering, “How long Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of the earth and avenge our blood?” (Revelation 6 v 10) and “The creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed . . . in hope that creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God” (Romans 8 v 19-21).
But we are empowered to make choices of action (see here – “What might help …”) which will have a bearing upon and alleviate the sufferings of creation, as well as upon our own relationship with God in Christ Jesus: “Today I am giving you a choice between good and evil, between life and death” (Deuteronomy 30 v 15).
The Parable of The Ten Bridesmaids
In Matthew 25 v 1-13 Jesus tells the well-known story of the ten bridesmaids. Five were wise, and had brought oil for their lamps so that they would be ready for the arrival of the bridegroom. But the five foolish bridesmaids were not prepared and were shut out of the wedding banquet. It is one of Jesus’ pointed parables. We are to keep awake and alert, for we do not know the time of Christ’s coming.
This is a teaching in which we recognize the urgency of the Gospel message, reading Matthew’s uncompromising words as we approach the celebration of Christ the King, in honour of Jesus Christ as Lord over all creation.
Jesus uses a lot of stories to explain what the kingdom of heaven is like. Each one uses scenes from everyday life that were familiar to his followers, to paint a picture of what it will be like to be with God. There is always a twist, though, a message in the story, but we have to work out the meaning for ourselves. Jesus says He is like a bridegroom coming to meet his bride and we are all invited to the celebration. The twist is that we need to be ready. We don’t know when he is coming; it might be a long wait, but we have to be prepared. We have to act as though the kingdom is here already. Some theologians talk about this as being ‘now and not yet’. Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom emphasizes that it is in the ‘here and now’, not just a future event.
How do we think about the future? It’s popular now to emphasize living in the moment, to just enjoy the present and not to care about the future. The kingdom of God is in the future, and it is our role to confidently wait and actively seek it. It is also in the ‘now’, as Jesus shared our suffering and the suffering of all His creatures; and He transforms it. In the same way, God calls us to be active in changing the world, in alleviating the suffering of all His creatures today, in the light of that future.
What does it mean to be ready and waiting, to be wise not foolish? How might our plans change if it’s God’s Peaceable Kingdom that we’re getting ready for?
‘Part Two’ will follow shortly! Thank you for reading and following our blog! Your comments are always welcome! ~Ros