Why Coffee Matters

Good morning from Managua, Nicaragua!

On Sunday Jen and I decided to become “foster parents” to a dog at Puente de Amistad, the orphanage in El Canyon, to give it a chance to recover from a parasitic infection. The dog, named coffee, is extremely skinny so our hope is to nurse him back to health and find a good home for him before we leave in March. Going through this process with coffee reminded me of a God-Given opportunity each of us have- to care for the planet as God himself would. 

When I was around 10 years old my grandfather came to me with an opportunity. He would lend me some of his tools as long as I took care of them in the same way we would. He told me it was a long term lease (not in those terms when I was ten) and that I could use them however I wanted as long as I treated them with care. As a ten year old that was a really neat opportunity as it showed that I was worthy to be trusted, at least in my grandfather’s eyes. With this opportunity came a lot of responsibility because I knew my grandfather would be checking in on me. At the same time, it made we feel important, which was of great value to me at that age.

Did you know that God has given us a very similar opportunity? In the book of the Bible called Genesis, God says, “Let us make man in our own image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” (Genesis 1:26, NIV 1984) Like my grandfather, God has given us the opportunity to care for, use, and manage something that is very precious to him, his prized creation. Often we see this opportunity more as a responsibility and, at times, an inconvenience. While it is certainly true that it is a responsibility, we need to change the way we view caring for our world. We need to begin to see it as an incredible opportunity.

When my grandfather lent me the tools, I felt valued, trusted, and respected. At the time, my grandfather was a pastor, but before he became a pastor, he was a carpenter. This meant that tools were valuable and useful to him because building stuff was a part of who he was. Similarly, God, by nature, is a creator and, therefore, values His creations. This means that God has put us in charge of something that means a lot to him and is a reflection of who he is. If I felt valued when my grandfather lent me his tools, how much more valued, trusted, and respected should we feel as God’s appointed caretakers for his beautiful creation? Caring for our earth is a great opportunity and we should find pride and fulfillment in doing it. 

If we began to seeing caring for the world, including dogs like Coffee, this way, might it change the way we live? Instead of seeing it as an obligation, we might begin to view it as the blessing that it is. Every one of us has an important role to play. Are you playing yours?

– James Belt



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