Today’s Bible readings can be found here: Exodus 16:1-15 and Luke 10:1-16.

Exodus 16:2  “In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.” (NIV)

The ancient Israelites were an ungrateful community. They had been delivered by God from slavery and given the opportunity to begin their lives afresh, but because of the initial hardships that faced them, they yearned for the ‘good old days,’ of drudgery and bondage. They may have been miserable under their Egyptian taskmasters, but at least they could sit around pots of food and eat until their bellies were full. Instead of embracing the freedom God had given them, they were willing to throw it all away and return to slavery. They really were a thankless crowd of grumbling folks. Even though God’s grace was right in front of them, they didn’t appreciate His presence and gift for what it was: life with liberty.

We live on a beautiful planet in a unique solar system. As we spin through space, are we aware of how much grace God has invested into our world? None of the other planets can sustain life. We have beauty all around us each day – mountains, valleys, rivers, seas – all with a remarkable abundance of life – and yet we are just as ungrateful as the ancient Israelites.

Instead of celebrating the bounty that God has given, we constantly destroy what we have received. Rather than making this world a better place, we fill it with pride and bitterness, greed and hostility. This may be the only planet in our galaxy that has life, beauty, and wonder, but we ravage its resources, spoil its loveliness, and selflessly plunder the environment as if it all is personally owned by us. We forget that the world belongs to God – we are only His servants and tenants who are meant to preserve its uniqueness, protect its splendor, and pass it on caringly to our children. Initially, God gives it to us graciously in the hope that we will embrace this godly gift with thankfulness, respect, and love. May we one day fulfill that divine dream.

Point to ponder:

What am I doing with my life to make the world a better place? What blessings of God’s grace am I passing on to the next generation?

Prayer: Lord God, You have given the uniqueness of life on our planet and we are blessed because of Your abundant grace. Grant us the will and the wisdom to preserve the beauty around us so we may gratefully pass on the bounty of blessings that Your gift has given us. In Christ’s Name, we pray. Amen.

Today’s image is one of John’s latest Trinitarian drawings called ‘Blue Trinity.’ If you would like to view a larger version, click here.

John Stuart is the Scottish pastor of Erin Presbyterian Church in Knoxville, Tennessee.