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Friday, February 26, 2010

Leaving something for the poor and the animals

Leviticus 19: 9-10 and 23-25

I love these verses. God commands that when the Israelites take possession of the land they must not reap the harvest to the very edges of the land or vineyard, and that when fruit trees are planted the fruit may not be eaten for the first five years. Right from the very beginning, God wants to establish an economic system that is fair not only to the people, but also to the poor and the animals. By leaving some of the harvest in the field, the farmer provides the capacity for the poor to survive with dignity and for the animals to have what is left over. Faith in God prevents the Israelites from feeling the need to squeeze the last drop of water from the stone, but rather, they know he will provide sufficient abundance that they, the poor, and the animals will all be able to get enough.

While most of us don't have fields anymore, I believe there is still something to learn from the spirit of these laws. If you have a fruit tree in the backyard and animals come to take some of the fruit, don't begrudge them the treat. And have enough faith to always share with others, even when it seems like the times are lean.

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Important Lessons from the Bible

Why Jesus came:
"that the world might be saved through him"
John 3:17

Who Jesus is going to use to save the world:
"For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God."
Romans 8:19

Our role on earth:
"The LORD God put the man in the Garden of Eden to take care of it and to look after it."
Genesis 2:15

The Five Pillars of A Christian Theology of Sustainability

1. God is the creator, sustainer and redeemer of creation.

2. Covenantal Stewardship (we have a covenant with God as stewards of the earth).

3. The creation-fall-redemption paradigm (God made a good world; human failure broke the relationships between god, man and creation; Christ provides hope for all creation).

4.Bodily resurrection(we will rise with bodies, not as spirits)

5.New Creation (a new Heaven and new Earth refers to a renewal and an earthing of heaven, not starting over).

Adapted from When Enough is Enough: A Christian Framework for Environmental Sustainability, Edited by R.J. Berry, Published by Inter-Varsity Press, 2007, Nottingham p43+