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We still have a responsibility as stewards

Last updated on April 25, 2022

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For six years you shall sow your field, and for six years you shall prune your vineyard and gather in its fruits, but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord.” (Leviticus 25:3-4)

This earth won’t last forever. It will be renewed. However, this does not relieve us from our duty to use the earth and its resources in a responsible way. For the earth is the Lord’s and it is utterly disrespectful to misuse His creation. We can’t spoil and destroy what He has beautifully crafted!

When the people of Israel were about to enter the land that God had promised them, He gave them a lot of laws and prescriptions. Some of these were about religious life, others about social life, and some about the people’s interaction with their environment. They were allowed to cultivate the land and to use its natural resources. But they should not over-exploit the soil or wildlife, or needlessly destroy fruit trees, to list a few examples.

Present day Christians need not keep the Sabbath year anymore. This was an Old Testament law for the Israelite people. But the principle remains valid: use natural resources in a sustainable way!

This may come with a cost — as it did for the Israelites when they were not allowed to sow their fields for a whole year. But God knows what is best for us and for the natural world!

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