The Lord God formed out of the ground every living animal of the field and every bird of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them, and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. Genesis 2:19 (NETFull)
An African farmer introduced me to his three elephants—Mary, Boxy and Shorty. They were characters who snatched the man’s hat away in a game of keep-away.
You can tell an elephant’s personality by how it uses its trunk. They greet each other by intertwining trunks and even have special trunk displays for courtship and mother-child interactions. Some twist around objects to the left, others to the right.
As I reached into Mary’s mouth to lay oranges on her tongue, Boxy and Shorty groped inside my coat with their trunks for more fruit. These were outgoing, curious friends and it was a pleasure to make their acquaintance.
In the Garden of Eden an anointed relationship was inaugurated between animals and humans. We were to co-govern God’s wooly, scaly and feathered creatures. Instead, we brought curses into the world and our relationship with animals went topsy-turvy. They no longer enjoyed our protection but became our sacrificial offerings, or the exact opposite, our gods.
Even today we seem to use animals for sport hunting or worship them under the guise of domesticated pets. The balance conferred on us in Eden disappeared into a gray fog. In my lifetime, one half of the world’s wild animals died due to human destruction of habitat. I don’t want the blood of that crime on my hands. I must rediscover my calling to godly husbandry.
Living in the post crucifixion of Jesus era, I have a chance to right a few wrongs. I can boycott unsustainable harvests, speak against animal cruelty, and use care that I don’t spend more on my pets than I do on God’s kingdom. If I’m truly filled with the Spirit of Christ, he’ll show me a great many ways to reverse this double-edged war against creation.
To Mary, Boxy and Shorty, I want to say, “I’ve been on the wrong side of your suffering. Now let me love and protect you.”
Prayer: Father, help me care for your creation.