george_hancockstefanFrom time to time,  I drive south on New Jersey Turnpike past Exit 7.  The Turnpike is expanding on both sides and for miles one can see the wide swath of trees that have been cut down. The turnpike is being expanded because the people who drive in that particular part of the state have increased in number and the lanes that exist now are not sufficient or they create slow traffic.

I was looking to all those trees that have been cut. As someone who worked as a child with my father in the forest, I know how easy is to cut trees. The farmers who lived near the forest were allowed to cut wood for themselves and for the state. In the spring there would be large areas that were barren because the trees have been cut. However, what I also remember is that the students from the schools (in addition to other people who were paid) volunteered their time to plant new trees. In a couple of years, we were able to see the result of our labor.

I was wondering who will plant new trees along the turnpike. Some of those trees looked to have been around for 50 plus years.  There is beauty, strength and majesty when you look to a tree that has been around for many decades. These trees did not grow overnight.

I was thinking of the fact that God tells us in the book of Genesis that we should be good stewards of the earth.  One of my favorite Sunday School songs is “This Is My Father’s World.” God is the Lord of the universe, but He has entrusted this earth to us. He expects me to be gently and wisely involved in the upkeep of this world.

Our world is growing and I am fully aware that there are new needs for the increasing population and providing wider roads meets one of those needs. But as a steward of God’s earth I am asked not only to consume the resources that God has placed here for us, but to replenish them so that the intended beauty will be here for the next generations.

This past week Cass Tech High, my high school in Detroit, was leveled. It lasted close to 100 years and it produced a list of great artists, musicians, doctors and many other professionals. In the last 25 years, the school was no longer used because it no longer met the building codes, but also because in these past 100 years the building was not cared for so that it could last for a long time.

The world has changed and that section of Detroit has changed in the wrong direction.  A new school has been built a short distance and I hope that this school will last more than 100 years.