My church has RA’s on Wednesday nights. This is a mission education program for elementary age boys. As I was walking by the room tonight I saw the teacher using a color coded map to show the boys what religions are dominant in the different regions of the world. I appreciated his effort to expand their horizons and let them know that there are people all over the world who need to hear about Jesus.
The boys were having a difficult time grasping the point of this map of many colors. As I walked away I heard one of them say, “Aren’t there a lot of rainforests there?” I laughed a little and then flashed back to my fourth grade year in school. Mrs. Keeler was my favorite teacher up to that point, and maybe ever. I liked her mostly because she shared my love for the Giants. In addition to her love for the Giants, she loved the earth. She taught us about the rainforests: where they were, where they weren’t, and where they might not be in a few years unless we took action. So we started the Save the Earth Club! This was a cutting edge group of like-minded 10 year olds determined to buy at least one acre of the rainforest before the end of the school year. We had a bake sale, and bought our little piece of property near the equator. Or at least we gave the money to an organization that said we had saved an acre of the earth.
So I guess I was green before it was cool. Now the rainforests are the least of our worries, as we are told the whole earth is rapidly nearing a boil. Global warming has more than just 10 year olds concerned, as thousands of recyclers and carpoolers join together to form their own Save the Earth Club.
At the heart of our culture’s passion to cool the world, I believe there is a deeper God-given desire. We all want to save the earth. We all know deep down there is something very wrong, and that there is a very bad ending in the future unless we do something. The problem is that we too often suppress the truth about what that ending will be, and what we need to do to save the earth. The truth is that the wrath of God is coming upon every person on the earth. Our biggest problem is not excessive emissions or gas guzzling cars. No, our problem is that we are in rebellion against the One who made the earth. The only way to save the earth is to tell people about a humble Carpenter who took the wrath of God on Himself when He was executed 2000 years ago on a cross. In Christ we find our only happy ending.
So when we hear Mrs. Keeler or Al Gore tell us we can help save the earth by bringing some fresh brownies on Friday or using florescent light bulbs, we dive in and do our part. Hopefully we can preserve the forests and keep the earth cool. But I am thankful for RA teachers who try to teach boys not just where the rainforests are, but where the people are and what Jesus has done for those people. I hope we will also listen to people like that, and dive in and do our part. For what good would it be to gain the whole earth if we lose our own souls?
[By the way, Al Gore's view of global warming is not quite the consensus we are sometimes led to believe. Check out this summary of opposition to the doomsday predictions by dozens of scientists, including many publishing in peer-reviewed journals. Also, see this article about scientists' predictions of global cooling in Newsweek from 1975, and this follow-up in 2006. Some even recommended pouring soot on the polar ice caps to melt them and help keep the earth warm.]