Our earth has certain characteristics:
- It arose some 3.5 billion years ago
- 3 billion people inhabit it
- 71 percent of its surface is covered with water
- Its remaining 29 percent is land with mountains, deserts, plains, and plateaus, and
- Over the year because of its axial tilt there is variation of sunlight reaching every part which causes seasonal changes.
John Lubbock (1834–1913), an English banker, Liberal politician, and philanthropist wrote, “Earth and sky, woods and fields, lakes and rivers, the mountain and the sea, are excellent schoolmasters, and teach some of us more than we can learn from books.” We may learn that the future of the earth is tied to the gift of the sun. Over billions of years 99 percent of all species that ever lived on earth are extinct. And today there exist over 200 sovereign states with which America has diplomatic ties and trade. American journalists travel to these countries – some torn by political strife, and they present them to worldwide audiences via ubiquitous media networks.
Gift of Earth
There are concerns how long God’s gift of planet earth will continue to sustain life. These estimates range from 500 million to 2.3 billion years. The earth’s future is closely tied to that of the sun. Evo Morales (b. 1959), president of Bolivia said, “Sooner or later, we will have to recognise that the Earth has rights, too, to live without pollution. What mankind must know is that human beings cannot live without Mother Earth, but the planet can live without humans.” People continue to obtain large deposits of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum, and natural gasses from the earth’s crust. They are therefore concerned about how long these will last – and while doing so, much to our detriment, industries, air-crafts, and other motorized apparatuses are polluting our environment. Some see linkages of environmental pollutants with extreme weather – cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, blizzards, floods, tsunamis, droughts, and wildfires.
Jimmy Dean (1928–2010), a country music singer, TV host, and businessman said, “I can’t change the direction of the wind, but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.” Will we be able to adjust our sails to meet the needs of our 7.3 billion inhabitants that are increasing geometrically each year? It’s true that wind is a great blessing from our first breath of life, in early civilizations with wind powered sailing ships, to modern air-crafts, windmills as power supply, for dispersing seeds in farming, and in some popular wind-related sports.
Gift of Water
Through evaporation and transpiration there’s precipitation of our lands. Although this water is a blessing and great gift, some one billion people still lack access to safe drinking water. More than 2.5 billion people suffer from a lack of adequate sanitation. Margaret Atwood (b. 1939), a Canadian poet, novelist, and environmental activist explained, “Water does not resist. Water flows. When you plunge your hand into it, all you feel is a caress. Water is not a solid wall, it will not stop you. But water always goes where it wants to go, and nothing in the end can stand against it. Water is patient. Dripping water wears away stone. Remember that, my child. Remember you are half water. It you can’t go through an obstacle, go around it. Water does.” Undoubtedly, people must continue to do all they can in building dams and constructing wells, to bring pure drinking water to the many villages of Africa, Asia, and Latin America that lack this vital resource. Many indigenous people’s survival depends on such actions.
Gift of Fire
People must be positive when thinking about fire. It’s a stimulant of life. This gift is used for cooking, generating heat, as lighting sources, and propulsion purposes. It’s also known for its growth and maintaining ecological systems. Bruce Lee (b. 1940), a Hong Kong American martial artist wrote, “Love is like a friendship caught on fire. In the beginning a flame, very pretty, often hot and fierce, but still only light and flickering. As love grows older, our hearts mature and our love become as coals, deep-burning and unquenchable.”
That’s the reason why people must become fired up about God’s great gifts of earth, water, and fire in our lives. It takes love to kindle these vital resources of the earth for the benefits of mankind. For these gifts we’re most thankful.