You take care of the earth and send rain to help the soil grow all kinds of crops. Your rivers never run dry, and you prepare the earth to produce much grain. CEV Psalms 65:9
When children think of earth-keeping, they often think about cleaning up litter or pollution, the mess humans have made. Let’s show our kids that we can also take care of creation by co-creating with God. When we plant a tree and take care of it, we become good stewards of God’s creation—not only by cleaning up but also by creating! How can we help God create a more beautiful, sustainable world?
First, think about God and trees: Author Eugene Peterson writes, “ Praying to God begins by looking at a tree. Prayer begins not with what we don’t see but with what we do see. We are not launched into a life of prayer by making ourselves more heavenly but by immersing ourselves in the earthy.” Think of a special tree in your life, meditate on it, and then pray. Did thinking about the tree help you when you prayed to God?
Appreciate the wonder of trees: God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food (Genesis 2:9). Explore trees with your children. Examine their trunks and bark, their limbs, leaves, and roots. Wonder with them about God’s design and purpose for these different parts of trees. Wonder together why their textures, shapes, and structures are different from one kind of tree to another.
Adopt a tree. Pick a tree in your backyard or neighborhood and make it a family tree. Learn all that you can about it. Complete a leaf and bark rubbing of that tree. Identify whether that tree is coniferous or deciduous (and learn a couple of new words in the process). Spend time with your tree, touching it, sketching it, or even lying under it and looking up through its majestic branches.
Watch The Lorax with your children: This is a great movie specifically about how important trees are to the earth and taking care of them. Talk about how to build new things even while preserving nature. Do not destroy its trees by putting an ax to them, because you can eat their fruit (Deuteronomy 20:19).
Pick your own fruit: Go fruit picking with your children. As they pick and eat the fruit, be sure to thank God for the gift of trees.
Plant a tree. Abraham planted a tamarisk tree in Beersheba, and there he called on the name of the Lord, the Eternal God (Genesis 21:33). Find a local park or nature preserve and ask them about their next tree planting. Earth Day is a great time to find opportunities like that. As we look forward to worshipping God under the Tree of Life in heaven, we are reminded that planting a tree can also inspire hope for the future (Revelation 21-22). When you plant a tree with your child, that tree will grow strong for a long time. Take a picture by the tree each time there's a special event in your child's life: birthdays, graduations, first job, wedding. This collection of tree photos will remind your family of God's faithfulness.
See how God uses trees to reveal who he is with the Today devotional series written by Julia Prins Vanderveen.