The Gift of Planet Earth

Fire can be destructive.  

2 Peter 3:7 declares, “The heavens and earth that now exist are stored up for fire, being kept until the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly.” Later in the same chapter (vs. 12) it says, “the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn!” The Bible says, “Our God is a consuming fire” (Hebrews 12:29), and when the day of his wrath fully comes, he will destroy with fire. 

I grew up in the state of Oregon (USA). It is a land of forests. The Lord called my wife and I into missionary service, and it was our privilege to live in or near four of the most influential cities in the world: Los Angeles, Singapore, Washington, and London. Now we have returned to our beloved, beautiful Oregon.  

In 2020 forest fires in Oregon burned 1,000,000 acres, equal to five and one-half Singapores. Eleven people died and 2,880 buildings were destroyed, mostly homes. The fires came within 13 miles (21 km) of our own house. 

God created all of these beautiful, bountiful, productive forests. In Oregon, Douglas fir trees can grow up to 330 feet (100 metres) tall. They are magnificent. God created an entire beautiful, bountiful, productive planet and declared it “good” (Genesis 1). Humanity has sinned against God in a terrible way by polluting and destroying this great gift we call “Earth.” Now we know that our most consequential act of destruction has brought us to the terrible, urgent, global climate crisis we find ourselves in. 

The climate crisis is a big part of the reason why so many families in Oregon in 2020 suffered so terribly. But every place on earth, and every person on earth, will be affected by this. The scope of human suffering will be vast. In fact, it already is. 

It was my privilege to work with SCGM between 1985 and 1992. In all the mission events of those days, I wonder if the topic of Christian earth stewardship ever came up even once? I regret that. Now it is a desperately important topic that should be taught in our churches and in our mission events. Each of us need to ask what God is calling us to do for the health and sustainability of this great gift, our planet.  


Michael Jaffarian is a consultant to non-profit (charity) organisations, with an emphasis on research. He served for 33 years as a missionary researcher, working on major projects such as Operation World and the World Christian Encyclopedia.


40 FRiends of SCGM have been invited to take part in our 40-Day Devotional Project to help raise funds for SCGM’s 40th Anniversary. Each day starting 20 November 2020 to 31 December 2020, SCGM will publish one devotion written by our 40 FRiends in our FundRaising effort and celebration of God’s goodness and provision over the last 40 years!

Through their devotional reflections, we pray that our FRiends of SCGM40 will bless and encourage many to reflect upon God’s Presence, Protection, Provision, Purification and Power in Missions.