The “big browns” are spawning in the Owyhee River—brown trout beginning their fall nesting ritual. You can see them excavating their nests in the gravelly shallows.
Wise fishermen know that fish are spawning and try not to disturb them. They avoid walking on gravel bars where they might trample the eggs, or wading upstream from the nests where they might dislodge debris that can smother them. And they don’t fish for these trout, though it’s tempting to do so as they rest near their nests.
These precautions are part of an ethic that governs responsible fishing. But there is a deeper and a better cause.
The Scriptures stress the fact that God has given us the earth (Gen. 1:28–30). It is ours to use, but, as the old angler Izaak Walton put it, “We must use it as those who love it.”
I muse on the work of God’s hands: a partridge calling across a canyon, a bull elk bugling up a fight, a herd of antelope far off in the distance, a brook trout and its kaleidoscopic rose moles, a mother otter playing in a stream with her pups—I love all these things, for they have been given to me for my delight, out of my Father’s great love.
And what I love, I protect.
June Williams was only 4 when her father bought 7 acres of land to build a zoo without bars or cages. Growing up she remembers how creative her father was in trying to help wild animals feel free in confinement. Today Chester Zoo is one of England’s most popular wildlife attractions. Home to 11,000 animals on 110 acres of land, the zoo reflects her father’s concern for animal welfare, education, and conservation.
Solomon had a similar interest in all creatures great and small. In addition to studying the wildlife of the Middle East, he imported exotic animals like apes and monkeys from far-off lands (1 Kings 10:22). But one of his proverbs shows us that Solomon’s knowledge of nature went beyond intellectual curiosity. When he expressed the spiritual implications of how we treat our animals, he mirrored something of the heart of our Creator: “The righteous care for the needs of their animals, but the kindest acts of the wicked are cruel” (Prov. 12:10).
With God-given wisdom, Solomon saw that our relationship to our Creator affects not only how we treat people but also how much thoughtful consideration we give to the creatures in our care.
My 7-year-old African-American friend Tobias asked me a thought-provoking question the other day: “Since Adam and Eve were white, where did black people come from?” When I told him we don’t know what “color” they were and asked him why he thought they were white, he said that’s what he always saw in Bible-story books at church and in the library. My heart sank. I wondered if that might make him think he was inferior or possibly not even created by the Lord.
Several countries around the world celebrate Tulip Day to welcome the spring. When I think of tulips, I often think of the Netherlands, but commercial cultivation of the flower began in the Middle East. Today these colorful flowers span the globe. An estimated 109 species of tulips now grace parks, thoroughfares, and home gardens all around the world.
When God chose dust as His artistic medium to create Adam (Gen. 2:7), He didn’t have to worry about running out of material. According to Hannah Holmes, author of The Secret Life of Dust, “Between 1 and 3 billion tons of desert dust fly up into the sky annually. One billion tons would fill 14 million boxcars in a train that would wrap six times around the Earth’s equator.”
While getting an eye exam recently, my doctor hauled out a piece of equipment that I hadn’t seen before. I asked him what the device was, and he responded, “I’m using it to take a picture of the inside of the back of your eye.”
When Amanda Benavides was a sophomore at Point Loma Nazarene University in San Diego, California, she began to rethink her views on Christian stewardship of the earth. Amanda had grown up thinking that being conscious of the environment had nothing to do with her relationship with Jesus. All this changed when she was challenged to consider the Christian’s role in caring for the planet—especially how that relates to reaching the most needy in the world.
The Voyager 1 spacecraft, which was launched in 1977, is on the outer edge of our solar system more than 10 billion miles away. In February 1990, when Voyager 1 was almost 4 billion miles from us, scientists turned its camera toward Earth and took some pictures that revealed our planet as an almost imperceptible blue dot on a vast sea of empty space.
You don’t have to gaze long at the night sky to marvel at the wonder of God’s awe-inspiring handiwork. The massive stretch of galaxies and the cloudy mass of our own Milky Way remind us of the spectacular creation and the sustaining work of Jesus by whom it is all held together (Col. 1:16-17). It’s as though all of us have front-row seats in the theater of God’s creative power.