Friday, March 08, 2013

Caring for Others

Caring for Others (From Commentary published 6/29/ 2013)

Ecology is a field of science I enjoyed studying in school. It is defined as a branch of science concerned with the interrelationship of organisms and their environments, and/or the totality or pattern of relations between organisms and their environment. It studies Ecosystems which is the complex of a community of organisms and its environment functioning as an ecological unit. 

The principle behind this is that nature organisms and elements coexist interdependently. Patterns and cycles have been identified which keep nature in balance. Anything that obstructs these cycles and patterns can have devastating consequences eventually. As long as these cycles are not interrupted they continue “perpetually” and all parties involved benefit. We understand perpetual to mean continuing forever or occurring continually; also always existent or present. If what has always been existent or present ceases to be all else surrounding will also cease to be. This is perhaps what is behind the “green” or eco-friendly movement. It is the thought that we need to protect and maintain nature in order for nature to sustain us.

The parable of the mustard seed (Luke 13: 18 – 19) reveals this principle. Notice, that a man sows a mustard seed in his garden. Eventually it yields a tree, which man and other parts of nature benefit. We know that the seeds of the tree can be used as condiment, and its leaves serve as highly nutritious food. Furthermore, the tree contributes to the air cycle of exchanging Oxygen for Carbon dioxide. The tree will also give shade to any one placed underneath it. Lastly, birds can use the tree as their dwelling place. Yes, the tree does use resources of nature, but is does not hoard these, it returns other resources to nature. Why should we know this?

According to Ellen White this system is God ordained. Consider the following quote, 

The law of God is as sacred as God Himself. It is a revelation of His will, a transcript of His character, the expression of divine love and wisdom. The harmony of creation depends upon the perfect conformity of all beings, of everything, animate and inanimate, to the law of the Creator. God has ordained laws for the government, not only of living beings, but of all the operations of nature. Everything is under fixed laws, which cannot be disregarded…everything in nature is governed by natural laws…{PP 52.3} 

God cares about nature. He gave it to man to be its steward. Man has abused nature. God does not take that lightly. When Christ returns, then He will destroy those who destroy the earth (
Revelation 11:18). Recall the Lord’s rebuke of Jonah for caring for himself more than the people of Nineveh and their cattle (Jonah 4: 10 – 11). God finds the destruction of earth morally reprehensive. To God is to be in non-compliance with His laws. Ellen White expounds on this subject; let us read,
It is because of man's sin that "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together" (Romans 8:22). Suffering and death were thus entailed, not only upon the human race, but upon the animals. Surely, then, it becomes man to seek to lighten, instead of increasing, the weight of suffering which his transgression has brought upon God's creatures. He who will abuse animals because he has them in his power is both a coward and a tyrant.
A disposition to cause pain, whether to our fellowmen or to the brute creation, is satanic. Many do not realize that their cruelty will ever be known, because the poor dumb animals cannot reveal it. But could the eyes of these men be opened, as were those of Balaam, they would see an angel of God standing as a witness to testify against them in the courts above. A record goes up to heaven, and a day is coming when judgment will be pronounced against those who abuse God's creatures.--PP 443 (1890). {2MCP 514}

This also applies to humans.  To God acting with fellow humans in an abusive or non-caring fashion it is as if we are doing it to Him (Matthew 25: 31 – 46). James says to those who profess to live by Faith but have no works to prove it,

James 2:15 If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food,

James 2:16 And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit?

Let us read from Ellen White about this subject,

“Christ's followers have been redeemed for service. Our Lord teaches that the true object of life is ministry. Christ Himself was a worker, and to all His followers He gives the law of service--service to God and to their fellow men. Here Christ has presented to the world a higher conception of life than they had ever known. By living to minister for others, man is brought into connection with Christ. The law of service becomes the connecting link which binds us to God and to our fellow men.” (COL 326 – 327). 

You as a follower of Christ serve others and others followers of Christ serve you.  So. it is evident that interdependence among men is God’s desire. So, how can we humans become truly interdependent? How can we minister or serve one another? The only way is by being wholly dependent on God. Only then we give to others what we receive from Him. What do we receive from Him? The Holy Spirit - whom is to us an ever flowing spring of living water that fills us with His presence. His presence overflows – it grows into a fountain or stream of water that flows toward everyone else (John 7: 37 – 39). Ellen White says,

We are to be channels through which the Lord can send light and grace to the world… Floods of spiritual power are to be poured forth upon those prepared to receive it. {8T 46}

How we treat others and nature will reveal whether the Holy Spirit dwells in you or not. Without Him dwelling in us we will abuse ourselves and all else around us.