Taking Responsibility

“The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”  Genesis 2:15

 In this past Sunday’s blog I shared some thoughts spurred by reading Jane Goodall’s book Reason For Hope: A Spiritual Journey.  Today I want to do the same.  I have now finished reading the book and have to say I am both impressed and inspired by Dr. Goodall’s story.  She is living proof that one person can make a big difference when it comes to caring for God’s Creation.  She insists throughout her book that all of us can, likewise, make a difference.

In the book she says there are many success stories about people who have been able to do something positive about environmental problems but adds, “The problem is, most of us don’t get involved.  Most of us don’t realize the difference we could make.”  She goes on to write: “We love to shrug off our own responsibilities, to point fingers at others. ‘Surely,’ we say, ‘the pollution, waste, and other ills are not our fault.  They are the fault of politicians.’  This leads to a destructive and potentially deadly apathy.  Let us remember, always, that we are the consumers.  By exercising free choice, by choosing what to buy, what not to buy, we have power, collectively, to change the ethics of business, of industry.  We have the potential to exert immense power for good—we carry it with us, in our purses, checkbooks, and credit cards.”

Goodall also speaks of very simple things we can all do to make a difference, things that will make the world around us a better place for man and beast alike.  She says, “we can make a sad or lonely person smile; we can make a miserable dog wag his tail or a cat purr; we can give water to a little wilting plant.  We cannot solve all the problems of the world, but we can often do something about the problems under our noses.  We can’t save all the starving children and beggars of Africa, of Asia, but what about the street children, the homeless, the aged in our own hometown?”

At the end of the book Dr. Goodall sums up the message she feels God has given her to share with others.  It is this: “Each one of us matters, has a role to play, and makes a difference. Each of us must take responsibility for our own lives, and above all, show respect and love for living things around us, especially each other.  Together we must reestablish our connections with the natural world and with the Spiritual Power that is around us.”

I thank God for Jane Goodall and pray that her message will be heard by many.  We truly do live in a time when there is far too much apathy and the tendency to blame others for the problems we face.  I see in Jane Goodall a modern day prophet calling us to care for this incredible planet God has given us.   I see a prophet telling us that we must all do our part whether others do or don’t.  The Bible is clear that we are called to be stewards of the earth; Creation Care is our responsibility.   It is high time that each and every one of us did our part and took responsibility.  May God help us to do just that!

–Chuck

(The pictures above are some that I took in my yard yesterday here in Pikeville, Kentucky.)

For more information on Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute, visit www.janegoodall.org.