Taming the Wild

Yesterday I went home and could put off tending to my yard no longer.

Our “trimmer” (which I use with a blade edger attachment) kicked the bucket a few weeks ago. I’m not sure what did it, maybe my “modifications” to give it a little more power and use a 2x as big blade had something to do with it. Regardless, we had it for years and it served us well until it died.

I had been waiting to get cash in that “envelope” before I could buy a new trimmer ($100 Lowes). Then my sister was in town, and why go to all the trouble to mow if I’m not going to edge etc… (excuses).

So, I came home from work and mowed/edged for 2 hours and it looks great. It was really hot and about 80% humidity, not smart, but we now have good results (and Beth is happy).

As I was cutting down the jungle that was my yard, I thought of “I Am Legend.” I’m actually a big fan of the 1954 book, so when I heard (back in 2007) that they were making a movie, I was pretty excited. “Omega Man” was not a very good movie (though vantage  Charlton Heston) and didn’t really follow the story of the novel.

Even though the Will Smith movie doesn’t end the same way as the book, and is set in the 21st century, it’s a great movie.

One image that strikes you in the movie is how in a relatively short time of no human beings, NY (king of the cities) begins to be overtaken by nature. That’s one advantage of movies, visual imagery that you might not even think of.

I think it’s  a pretty realistic depiction (vampires aside) of what would happen to the world. Without the influence of mankind, nature would recapture this world in a few years.

This is part of the blessing God gives us in the first part of the Bible

Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.

-Gen 1:28 (TNIV)

It’s part of our job to tame the wild and to live on this earth. It’s also part of Man’s curse

…Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you, and you will eat the plants of the field. By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

-Gen 3:17-19

It is constant and hard work to push back nature and subdue the earth, but there is a satisfying feeling to take a step back and look at a well manicured yard and think to yourself “there you go neighbors, that’s how it’s done!”

God has given us an awesome responsibility to care for this earth. Many times, through politically motivated ideologies, both sides of the issue get off the path when talking about this issue. It is not okay to abuse the earth and destroy the gifts that God has given us to manage. At the same time, it’s also obvious that God places natural resources (like gold, precious stones, fuels etc.) in the earth for us to use (cf. verses like Gen 2:12 where natural resources are cited as a blessing, obviously to be used). It’s no coincidence that the 100% natural resource that is placed in the ground (oil) is 80x more dense with energy than anything else we can use or invent. It is poor stewardship to not wisely use the resources that we’ve been given.

If we don’t tend the earth, we will be overrun. We are not the aggressor in this world, the earth (so called “mother nature”) is much more powerful than we are, we can’t do anything to destroy her. Our job is to use the land wisely, utilize the resources that we’ve been given, and care for the people and animals on the earth. To retreat and simply “use less” or to overreach and pollute air, water, & earth are perversions of our responsibility as stewards of this beautiful world.

At the same time, this is not the gospel. It is not the gospel to give people clean water, to educate children, or even to train people how to live in sustainable communities to grow countries out of the third world. These are all good things, and they may be platforms for the gospel, but they are not the gospel. The gospel is the truth of Jesus Christ. It’s his whole life, death, resurrection and all that has done for all of mankind (and this world).

Heaven will be here on earth, and it’s not something we work towards or we can somehow earn or deserve. Adam and Eve sinned, and we all sin, that’s why it’s hard to maintain our lives out of the wild. We can’t save ourselves from this fall, we can only manage it, but we need to be saved from it. God loves us and wants to have a people, but all people are sinful and he can’t have that sin in his presence, so the Father sent his Son to pay the price for our sin. Jesus, in his death on the cross, paid for the sin of the world, especially for those who receive him as their Lord. Anyone is saved by simply receiving this graceful gift through faith in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. That is the gospel. Any act that does not verbally express this idea (or serve as a vehicle for speaking this good news) is off target.

So, tame the wild, both the earth, and the hearts of men with the light of the gospel!

About John Harris

χian, Jesus saves. μιᾶς γυναικὸς ἄνδρα, Pastor at Pleasant Heights, PhD (NT) candidate at Midwestern; forever Texan, μολὼν λαβέ; Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Allons-y
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  • RomansOne

    The line, “We are not the aggressor in this world, the earth (so called “mother nature”) is much more powerful than we are, we can’t do anything to destroy her.”

    That’s a point where you can tell evolutionary thinking apart from Biblical thinking. A secular evolutionist believes that all of nature is the product of random chance, and so he frets that the world is in a fragile, delicate balance that can be easily destroyed by human intervention. But a Biblical view states that God created it all — it is the product of design, and so is built to endure.

    And boy, do my weeds like to “endure”. 😉