Do you need an attitude adjustment? Sometimes I hear people tell others that they do. This implies that the attitude the other person is displaying is not appropriate and perhaps even harmful. I suspect we all find ourselves in this position at one time or another. Our attitudes are certainly not always what they should be and therefore need adjusting periodically. One area where a lot of people need an attitude adjustment these days concerns the care of the earth. For reasons I cannot fully comprehend they believe the earth and its resources are theirs to do with as they please. The practice of Creation Care or environmental stewardship is foreign to such folks. I believe the attitude of people like this is both inappropriate and harmful. It is also foreign to the teachings of the Bible.
In the first chapter of the Book of Colossians the apostle Paul notes that Christ is “the firstborn over all creation.” (v. 15) This does not mean that Christ was the first thing created. Rather the term “firstborn” was understood as a title of honor and here indicates Christ is supreme over Creation. Paul goes on to say “by him all things were created.” (v. 16) For some people this is surprising. They do not associate the creation of the world with Christ but both Paul and the author of the Fourth Gospel (see John 1:3) declare that Christ was the agent of Creation. Paul, however, does not stop there. He goes on to say “all things were created by him and for him.” It is this latter word that calls for a major attitude adjustment in many. The world was created for and exists for Christ himself–not us.
If what Paul says is true then we cannot continue treating the earth any way we choose. It does not belong to us nor are we the primary reason it exists. It exists for Christ. That means we must look at things differently. It means we must strive to treat the world and the environment in a way that will bring glory to Christ. For a number of years you saw everywhere the letters WWJD, which stood for “What would Jesus do?” In light of Paul’s words it would not be a bad question for all of us to ask as we think about our relationship to the earth and the environmental issues we face today. Once again, if the earth was created for Christ then what we want to do with it isn’t the primary issue; it is what Christ wants. Discerning what exactly that would be might not always be easy but it should definitely be our major concern. If it is not, then it is definitely time for an attitude adjustment!
(I took the three images shown here during a visit to Cuyahoga Valley National Park last month.)