Each Sunday morning I teach the “Young and Restless” Sunday School class at my church. Today we looked at a chapter in Gordon MacDonald’s book, The Life God Blesses, that deals with mission statements. In this chapter MacDonald makes some interesting claims about Creation. To begin with he suggests that Creation itself has a mission. That mission is to glorify God. He writes: “There was nothing made in creation that was not meant to do this. Even human beings.” Gordon goes on to say, “But humanity rejected the mission early on in the game of history through disobedience. Ever since the story has been a bad one. Everything humanity in its rebellious mood has chosen to do has not declared the glory of God; rather, the attempt has been to set forth the honor of humanity. It hasn’t worked.”
Creation truly has paid a price for our disobedience. MacDonald goes so far as to say “We now have an earth so polluted and tainted with the afterglow of humanity’s exploitation that it becomes increasingly difficult to find anything that smacks of the original purposes of creation.” I’m not sure it is as difficult as MacDonald suggests to find the glory of God manifested in Creation but he does have a point. It’s getter harder and harder for the earth to fulfill its mission of revealing the glory of God. And, of course, it’s not the earth’s fault; it is ours.
Later in the chapter we studied today MacDonald says that he feels that part of his own personal mission statement must include the recognition that he has the responsibility to care for Creation. He says it is his mission to “do what I can to restore at least a little part of a ruined creation back to its original mission: that of declaring the glory of God.” I would like to affirm MacDonald for this recognition and suggest that this mission should be shared by all those who call themselves Christians.
If the true purpose of Creation is to tell the glory of God then we all have the responsibility of making sure that we do our part in caring for the earth. Where we can make amends for our destruction of the earth we should. We should also do all we can to prevent Creation from further destruction. I know that protecting Creation is quite controversial these days. Many people say that jobs must be our first priority and that if the environment must suffer to secure jobs then we’ll just have to pay that price. Such talk would lead me to believe that the chief end of man has become to earn a living but for centuries the catechisms have indicated that the chief end of man is, like Creation, to glorify God.
If the mission of Creation is to glorify God, and humankind’s mission is the same, then we better be rethinking our priorities. Our primary concern should be glorifying God in the way we live our lives and helping Creation to fulfill its intended purpose. Is there anything more important than this? I don’t think so.
(I took the top image at Mt. Rainier National Park. The middle image is a mountain top removal site I photographed from a plane near Hazard, KY. The bottom image was taken a Maroon Bells in Colorado.)