The Great Outdoors

hh1“God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.” Genesis 1:31

Have you ever wondered what the Garden of Eden must have looked like? It was a place without sin, the perfect place God originally intended for us to have. It was cared for by God Himself. How beautiful! I can just imagine the quiet flowing waters, flowers of every kind and color and scent, birds with the most beautiful song. And then sin entered (Genesis 3). And since then, although God’s hand is still in every part of His creation, it has never again been so perfect, so ideal.

This column is called Helping Hands, and this month, rightfully so––we are going to put our hands to work! In many past articles, we’ve been using our talents to serve others; this month, we’re going to serve God by cleaning up His creation. “For the LORD your God will bless you in all your harvest and in all the work of your hands, and your joy will be complete” (Deut. 16:15).

This month’s project is simple––clean up. That’s it. It doesn’t require back-breaking labor, expensive tools, or money––it just involves what God has already given you––a little time and a little energy. And what better time to get outside and clean up His creation than spring, when the weather is warming and everything is coming alive again?

There aren’t any major procedures to go through for this task. One thing I will mention is that you be aware of your surroundings when setting off to work. Although I recommend gathering a group of friends to do this project with you, it is important that you work in an area in which you are familiar, and that is safe. Make sure you respect people’s property and stay out of restricted areas. Choose a local park, or your neighborhood or a friend’s, and set to work cleaning up during the daylight hours. Not only is this for safety, but also practicality––have you ever tried to clean up trash in the dark?

hh2Very few things are needed for this project, but what is needed is important. Gather several trash bags; if you’re taking a group, make sure each person has one. Also make sure that each person has several sets of disposable gloves. We may be using our hands to serve God, but that doesn’t mean we have to get them messy with stale drinks and chewing gum––gross! The gloves are important because there are a lot of germs and disease, and we need to protect ourselves in whatever ways we can. (Taking some hand sanitizer isn’t a bad idea, either.) If you want to carry a poking stick with you to pick up paper, that’s fine, but not necessary.

And now it’s time to get started. It’s as easy as taking a stroll in the park or a hike on a trail and picking up trash. You can be as picky as you want––any little bit helps. Remember that whether you work for only an hour or two or dedicate an entire day to it, you are doing something that wasn’t being done by someone else. And because this project is so simple, it can be done continuously, whenever you get the chance.

When you’re finished cleaning, or your gloves get too soiled to use anymore, you’ll need to keep your hands protected while taking them off. Here’s how:

Gently peel the glove off of one hand, starting with the wrist. Pull it down over your hand so that it ends up off your hand, inside out. Hold that glove in the other hand and use your bare hand to do the same with the opposite glove, pulling it down over the hand so that it ends up inside out, containing the first glove inside.

Remember that we’re not working to please man, but to glorify God who “…has seen my hardship and the toil of my hands” (Genesis 31:42).

Job well done! Now go treat yourself to an ice cream with your friends––just wash your hands first.

By Lisa Grimenstein

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