Every living thing

by Michael E. Brooks

This week Brenda and I, along with the faculty and students of Khulna Bible College, drove down to visit the only government operated experimental water buffalo farm in Bangladesh.

Though we have seen many buffalo over the years of visiting South Asia, this was the first time any of us had seen a commercial type farm devoted to them.

They keep a herd of over 170 animals, which is to be almost doubled later this summer by new acquisitions. The primary use of the buffalo on this farm is for their milk. Elsewhere in Asia they are used as work animals and for meat, as well as for the milk.

I have often made the comment that the water buffalo is one of the homeliest animals on earth. They fascinate me, but they are just plain ugly. This close up inspection of a large number did nothing to change that opinion.

Have you ever wondered why God did not just leave some animals off the ark? After all, do we really need mosquitoes? Would the world not be better off without rats? Surely the flood was an excellent opportunity to get rid of some of the pests that have afflicted man throughout history.

God in his wisdom chose not to do that. Rather Noah was commanded to bring two of every kind of animal, no matter what it was, so that each species might be kept alive.

After all God had made each kind, purposefully. He did not make mistakes, nor regret his creation. There is a place for all living things in God’s eternal purpose. We may not always recognize or appreciate that purpose, but it exists.

Most of us have long since decided that it is a good thing God created the world and not us. And it is good that God made provisions during the flood for preservation of all living things.

Only he has enough breadth of knowledge and vision to see how all things fit together, each one contributing to his plan. It does not matter that man may not see their value, or that to him a particular animal is ugly, or pestiferous.

When God did question his decision to create the earth, it was not the buffalo or the mosquito or the rat which caused him doubt as to its worth. It was mankind. Of all that God made, only humans ever (so far as we are told) brought him any regrets.

The next time we call some animal a pest, and wish it had not been created, perhaps we should stop and ponder that the greatest harm is done by people. Though we are created in God’s own image, with enormous potential for good, the fact is that we all fail to live up to that potential. “For all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). True ugliness is found in sinful humanity, when “every intent of the thoughts of his heart [is] only evil continually” (Genesis 6:5).

Though such sin caused God to plan the destruction of living things through the flood, he thought again, and made provisions to preserve life. One of the most beautiful verses in all the Bible is this, “But Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.” Even in sinful man, God found beauty and value.

Peter was once told, “What God has cleansed you must not call common” (Acts 10:15). When we look around at our fellow creatures and especially at other humans who displease us, let us remember that to God, there is purpose and worth.

God loved us even when we were sinners (Romans 5:8). Let us love one another.

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Michael Brooks

Since 1988 Mike and his wife Brenda have been involved in foreign missions in South America, Africa, and South Asia. Beginning in 1999 they devoted full time to missions, primarily in Bangladesh and Nepal.

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