by Sharon Robertson, Lt. Colonel –
Conservation of resources: It’s the mantra of the age, a sacred chant designed to save the physical world through management of natural resources and the protection of the environment.
And it is critical. Without meaningful attention to our duties as the custodians of the world in which God placed us, little doubt exists that we could well share in the responsibility for making our planet uninhabitable.
As I watched America: The Story of Us, I recalled the ìdust bowlî of the Midwest, and found myself being introduced to that disastrous series of events in a way that no history book had ever equaled. For the first time I realized that it was not just a minor incident that affected a limited region of the country in a limited way, but a major continental disaster that impacted the entire world in countless ways, both documented and undocumented.
I was also reminded that the well-meaning intentions of good, industrious people focused on creating a better life for their families could, through an inadequate understanding of the land they inhabit, contribute to setting the stage for destruction on an immeasurable scale. They viewed their world from a limited perspective, with limited goals—and no understanding of where their efforts might lead.
They learned their lesson, the hard way.
How very human of us; we so often insist on learning our lessons the hard way. The young child sees the pretty flame dancing at the end of the match, and though mama says, ìNo! NO!î he wants to find out for himself, and gets burned. The adolescent rebels against the restrictions of her parents, not trusting that their warnings may be based on sound, relevant experience, and gets burned! A man decides he is smart enough to connect the whatchamacallit to the wuzzit without bothering to read the directions – and gets burned! It seems to be in our genes; after all, Adam and Eve, obsessed by the desire for a higher level of understanding, and deciding they knew best, ignored the command of God – and got burned!
Wasted resources, wasted power. God has endowed us with such great powers, powers of heart and mind, powers of body and spirit, powers to excel, to accomplish great things on his behalf. To each of us he has given unique gifts, powers that can be used to accomplish his purposes on earth and in heaven, and commanded us to use them.
The gifts are innumerable—and un-duplicated. What God has made possible for you is not possible for any other; my gifts are uniquely mine; your gifts are uniquely yours; my cup of water may be needed to satisfy a thirsty man; my sister’s may be needed to water a flower in the garden; my brother’s may save the life of an animal; yours may water a seed that will produce a vegetable that will help to nourish a nation. No one of us can accomplish everything that needs to be done with a cup of water, but if any one of us withholds that cup, our own unique gift from God, something will suffer its lack; some flower or plant or animal may never receive the water it needs; some good seed may never have an opportunity to sprout. Some nation may never be nourished. And if the gift we withhold contains the water of life, some soul may never be saved.
Too often we waste time and effort bemoaning our fate, our situation, rather than accepting the gifts God has given us, and using them to maximize opportunities and resources to do good on his behalf. We squander our resources—material as well as spiritual. God makes his power available to us, and rather than utilizing that power to spread his influence in the world, we waste it building our own defenses, our personal safety nets to insure that the ills, the evils, the sinfulness of the world cannot touch us, or our families.
The promise of Jesus Christ himself, his very last words before he was taken up into heaven, is recorded in Acts 1:8 (NIV), You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.
How dare God’s people waste that power, negate the impact of that holy, God-given power by not making certain that his gifts are being maximized daily through the way we put them to use in our lives?