Recently my daughter Joy invited me to join her on a journey that is causing us to rethink the choices we make. As an animal lover with the desire to maximize her health and help the environment, she introduced me to the vegetarian lifestyle. Together we are learning about whole foods and plant-based diets, writing a blog, and sharing our journey with others in the hope that we will make a positive impact on those we know, as well as those we don't know yet. While we desire to improve our health and the well-being of animals who often are slaughtered for our meat or used to test many of the products we use, our primary motivation for becoming vegetarians is our love for God and the desire to be better stewards of all the blessings He has imparted to us.
Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil...The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. And the Lord God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly die.” (Genesis 2, 8-9, 15-17, NIV)
God has given us a beautiful world to inhabit, endowing most of us with the ability to work and the means to acquire what we need to live each day (Deuteronomy 8:18). He is the supreme Creator and the God who provides. He has given us much, requiring that we be faithful with all He entrusts to us (Luke 16:10-11). Yet we become careless, selfish, and wasteful.
What if we gave serious thought to all the blessings we enjoy, realizing that they are His gifts to us for the purpose of blessing others? What if we stopped viewing our possessions as ours and began treating them as if they are His, which in truth they are? Could you envision a world where we are compassionate to animals rather than abusive, and where we harvest earth's bounty without genetically modifying it into something God never intended it to be?
Our lust for more only results in a diminished quality of life. We are over-scheduled, overworked, and overweight because of convenience foods we eat on the run. With a little thought, planning, and education we can take control of what we put into our bodies, improving our health and slowing down destructive environmental change.
We need to simplify our lives, get back to the basics of nutrition, and become more compassionate to all God's creatures. Isn't it time that we return to Eden?
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