How can we care for the great gift of the world the Creator has given us? Includes a lesson, 2 games, and an optional service project.
Tell students to imagine the following scenario:
Pretend that you’ve just drawn the best picture you’ve ever done. You’re so proud of it and it’s so good that you know you could never draw something that good again. So you take it to your mom or your dad and you give it to them as a present. Now imagine that they take it from you, look at it, and then start tearing the picture up. How would that make you feel?
Read Genesis 1:26-28 (quoted here in the NIV) – “Then God said, ‘Let us make humans in Our image, in Our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.’ So God created humans in His own image, in the image of God He created them; male and female He created them. God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Ask, Who did God put in charge of the world? Humans
Read Genesis 2:15 (NIV) – “The LORD God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.”
What job did God give the man when He put him in the Garden of Eden? (God told the man to take care of the garden.)
Adam, the first man, was supposed to take care of everything in the Garden that God had made. He was in charge of all the plants and all the animals.
Read Genesis 2:19-20 (NIV) – “Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.”
What did Adam get to do here?
He got to name all the animals. All of the animals were Adam’s pets and he got to name them all.
What do you think Adam and Eve and all the animals ate for their food?
Read Genesis 1:29-30 (NIV) – “Then God said, ‘I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.’ And it was so.
So what were the people and the animals supposed to eat? (Plants.)
Today, people and animals hunt and eat other animals. But that’s not the way it was when God created everything. When God created the first people and the animals, everything was nice to each other and people and animals didn’t eat other animals.
God put Adam in charge of the world to take care of it. And God wants us to take care of the world, too. The Bible says that God has made the best thing He could, the world, and He’s given it to us for a present.
But people don’t always take care of the world in the way that they should. Sometimes, they destroy the world or hurt the animals that God made and that makes God sad and angry, just like you would be if someone tore up your best drawing.
Can you think of some things that people do that hurt the world or the animals? (Pollution, litter, hunting endangered animals, hunting animals or raising them for food, cutting down too many trees, etc. Remember, that God did gave people permission to eat meat in Genesis 9, but it wasn’t that way in the beginning, and it won’t be that way on the New Earth.)
Can you think of some things that people do take care of the world? (Picking up trash, recycling, taking care of animals, not making pollution, car-pooling, riding the bus or their bikes, driving hybrid cars, etc.)
Let’s all remember to do things that help take care of the world instead of hurting it, and God will be happy with us.
God, we thank You for everything that You made. You made the sun and the plants and the animals and the whole world and gave it to us to take care of. Help us to take care of the world the way You want us to. Amen.
Game: Adam’s Zoo
Pick one student to be the first guesser. Have them leave the room. Whisper to the other students what animal they all should pretend to be. Call the guesser back in to figure out what animal everyone is pretending to be.
Game: What Am I?
Tape names or pictures of animals on students’ backs. They have to figure out what animal they are by asking each other yes or no questions.
Optional Service Project: Litterbug Chase
Take kids to a littered field or park. Have teams race to collect the most cans, the oldest paper item, and the biggest piece of trash.