“So out of the ground the Lord God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” —Genesis 2:19
Think about what we get to name in our lives. Some of us have had the privilege of naming children. Others have named pets. A few of us have probably named our cars. We name these things because they mean something to us; they serve more than a utilitarian purpose in our lives. We take great care in selecting each name, seeking to reflect the nature of the person or thing being named and honoring the meaning it carries.
Imagine Adam in this moment in Genesis, carefully christening each of God’s creations. Imagine God’s curiosity and pleasure as Adam formed the names and spoke them for the first time, calling by name these things that God had called into being.
That preciousness, that sense of wonder and awe—these are the same feelings we have when granted the privilege of naming someone or something. What if we experienced that feeling with all of God’s creation? How might we steward our forests differently if we had named each tree? What would we do to safeguard endangered species if we had bestowed names on them?
Take a moment today to recall a time you named something. Reflect on the weight you gave the decision, on the deliberation and discernment you invested. The next time you read about climate change or environmental protection or water quality, pause to remember the things you’ve named. Remember the gift God granted to Adam in allowing him to name each element of creation. Stewarding creation is our privilege. Let us recall the magnitude of the gift.
Prayer: God, maker of all, fill us with awe and wonder at your creation.