I grew up on farmland in Sophia, North Carolina. We lived in a small mobile home but we felt like the richest people in the world because we had land. My siblings and I would go play at the creek. Many times we would fall in trying to fish. Then we would run home through the woods and open fields, soaked and muddy, wondering what Mom would think when we got home. Our imaginations would take us off and before we knew it, we were on an abandoned island, full of hungry crocodiles, searching for lost treasure. In reality we were in the backyard of the trailer between the swing set and the shed.
Sad to say, after we moved to another home, some businessmen took it over and built a factory. Our childhood memories are covered in concrete now.
Something that I find very interesting about the indigenous is that they have an amazing ability to steward and respect their land. The definition of indigenous is: originating or occurring naturally in a particular place. They have an acute understanding of how the land and trees work and how to treat it so that the next generation will be even more blessed.
I’ve learned a lot from the indigenous peoples around the world. They have taught me proper ways to plant, hunt and fish. In other words, the indigenous treat their land like it’s theirs. They know that if they mistreat it then it will mistreat them in return.
On the other hand, I’ve never seen indigenous people in awe of the land. I’ve never seen them star gazed in fascination at the land saying, “Wow, beautiful!” This has baffled me after much observation. The indigenous have such a respect for land, whereas for us who live in the concrete jungles, we look at nature and say, “Wow! Look at that mountain! Look at those flowers and trees. They are beautiful.” The modern world seems to look at nature with such fascination, yet a lack of respect.
One time, Gladys and I took some indigenous mountain dwellers to see the ocean for the first time. We spent a week near the beach as we were ministering there. This was actually their first time seeing the ocean. When we walked up to the sandy beach for the first time, I could see the anticipation and curiosity on their faces. What is that? What’s inside the water? I couldn’t wait to see what would happen when they got in to swim.
I gave them some goggles and an underwater camera so they could see what was under the water. I was setting them up for a special event of their lifetime. I knew what was underneath the water but they didn’t.
We got in a boat and found a specific spot where I knew that there would be colorful corals, swarming fish and creatures that they never knew existed. I plunged under first and they followed. I watched them as they gazed at the magnificent sea life with wide eyes. They never saw such colors and creatures before. There was “awe” in their faces. Losing breath, we came up for air. The first words from their mouth were, “WOW!”
We spent hours out in the ocean worshipping and glorifying the Creator.
That experience made me think about our worship to the Creator as kings of the Earth. God has given us dominion over the Earth and in fact the Earth is filled with His Glory. Stewarding land is an act of worship to the Creator of it. It takes affection, being in awe of creation (His work). And it also takes respect, cultivating the land in the right way.
This world is changing rapidly but this fact still stands true; you are in charge of yourself and what He has given you. What you have is yours. Therefore, steward your belongings with affection and respect and you will see God multiply it further than all of your dreams could take you.