LIVING IN AN INTERDEPENDENT WORLD

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Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

When you observe nature, you have to marvel at how everything is dependent on something else for its well-being. Take plants for example. A plant cannot exist and sustain itself, but must depend on the sun for energy, water for strength and life-giving chemical reactions, the earth for stability and nutrients, and so forth. Often, plants must depend on humans to care for them lest they die from drought, insects, or diseases.

On the other hand, many other things depend on plants for their continuing existence and well-being. Humans and animals rely on plants as a food source. Plants are important to help control the carbon dioxide and oxygen levels of the air we breathe. The earth needs plants to help prevent soil erosion. Plants give us beauty to enjoy, the shade to cool us, and so forth.

Humans are the same way. Not only do we depend on nature to sustain our lives, but we depend on each other. What would you or I have if it were not for other people—lots of people? Consider the matter of food alone. We rely on people to grow the food, people to build the machines used to plant and harvest the food, truck drivers to haul the food, people to package the food, people to stock the food in stores, people who make carts and bags to make it easier to carry the food, and on and on the list goes, of people we rely on, just to bring us food to sustain our lives.

Certainly, it’s the height of arrogance not to feel grateful for what nature and others give us. Being thankful, respectful, and kind toward others who we depend on is very much in order.

We could not have our jobs without relying on others to give us the jobs, and people to purchase our products so we can keep our jobs. We depend on others for healthcare, for travel vehicles, for entertainment, and all other things that help make life and our well-being possible. Certainly, it is the height of arrogance for anyone to think he or she is successful, or healthy, or prosperous because of their own abilities, strengths, and intelligence alone. Certainly, it’s the height of arrogance not to feel grateful for what nature and others give us. Being thankful, respectful, and kind toward others who we depend on is very much in order.

What about God? Many people do not believe in God. I am one who believes that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is on the earth, including us. When scientists observe the unseen microscopic cells that make up our bodies, they discover that within the cell are all kinds of machine-like structures that depend on each other for building our bodies.  What kind of God would create a world where everything depends on something else for its continuing existence and well-being? The Bible reports that the Creator is a God with a triune nature. God is Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, all depending on each other for totality of being. Strangely, the God who created us, and who needs nothing from us to complete him, nevertheless, chooses to depend on us, entrusting to us the work of carrying out his good will in caring for one another and in caring for his earth.

Interdependency is a good word to describe the fact that everything depends of something else for its well-being. The word interdependence not only means that we depend on others for our well-being, but that others depend on us to contribute to their well-being. Something is wrong when each does not give to the other what is needed, but it happens all the time. I leave you with the thought of contemplating what it would take to right the wrong.

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Jay Ashbaucher
Jay Ashbaucher is a native of Northwest Ohio and is currently a retired pastor and published author. He holds a Master of Divinity degree from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, and has been a pastor and teacher in Montana for over 44 years. Jay taught grief classes in a hospital setting, and worked for twenty years as a fifth-step counselor and lecturer in an alcoholic-drug treatment center getting to know the hearts of people struggling to get well. While pastoring in Montana, he had enjoyed racquetball, hunting, fishing, and traveling the Big Sky State. Now living in Southeast Michigan, Jay enjoys his family, reading, hiking, golf, time with friends, and time with his fun-to-be-with wife. They have two happily married children and seven grandchildren.