Taking Good Care of God's Creation
"You have given them dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under their feet, all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas."
Help the children recall times when they were kept in the care of someone else. Ask, "When your parents need to be away and can't take you with them, who do they usually ask to take care of you?" Answers will most likely include grandparents, baby-sitter, neighbors, and friends. "Why do you think your parents chose those people? Why didn't your parents just pick names out of the phone book and ask those people to care for you?" Their answers will focus on these ideas: (1) children are too important to their parents to be placed in the care of strangers and (2) parents will leave their children only with someone whom they consider reliable, trustworthy, and dependable. (Note: if you are using this exercise with youth, you may want to use another example, such as the care of a family pet when they are on vacation. Modify the questions to apply to this example.)
Tell the children that God trusts them to take care of the earth and every living creature on the earth. God's creation is too important to be left to the care of strangers; namely, those who do not know and worship God. Christians are God's hands and feet on the earth! Read Psalm 8 to the children. Ask: "What feelings do you experience when you think about everything God created and realize that people are God's most special creation?" "What does this Psalm tell us about God's opinion of humans?" God values us, created us just a little lower than God, and crowned us with glory and honor. God placed us in charge of caring for the earth and all living creatures. Ask the children to describe ways in which they care for God's creation. Then ask the children to share how other people do or do not care for creation.
Encourage the children to think of one way that they could become more involved in caring for God's creation. Perhaps the children would want to begin a recycling project or plant a garden. Other suggestions might include:
- Volunteering at the local humane society.
- Participating in an animal adoption program at an area zoo.
- Adopting a stretch of highway and regularly picking up the litter.
- Helping build a home through Habitat for Humanity.
Dear God, thank you for trusting me to take care of your beautiful earth and everything that you have created. Show me something that I can do to make a difference. In Jesus' name, I pray. Amen.
Questions for Discussion
- Why do some people take care of God's earth while others do not care for it?
- How can we help Christians understand that God trusts them to be stewards of all creation?
- What are some ways children can make a difference in caring for God's creation?
- What is one thing you would like to begin doing to care for God's earth?
Janet Zimmerman is an ordained United Methodist deacon, who serves as Christian Education Director at Church of the Lakes in Canton, Ohio.