“Should I not care about the great city of Nineveh, which has more than 120,000 people who cannot distinguish between their right and their left, as well as many animals?”Jonah 4:11 (HCSB)
There is something sadly overlooked by many in the final verse of Jonah. God does not only care about the people of Nineveh but also the animals of the city! God didn’t just makes humanity and say “it is good,” but He made the animals and the plants and said, “It is good.” If Christians are to be a people who mirror Christ to the world, we must care about and love (and hate) the same things as God. God cares about animals. Does that mean we must be vegetarians? Clearly not because not only does God demand animals to be killed as various sacrifices in mind boggling numbers, but Jesus eats lamb at the Passover (the Last Supper) and fish (Luke 24:42-43). God even tells Peter to eat all kinds of animals in Acts (10:9-15).
As humans, we have been given dominion over all the creatures of the earth—they are not our equals, they are not human and should never be mistaken as such. But just as God is a good steward, so we must be. Just as God is a great gardener, so we must be. The health of this world is our responsibility, and when God returns, He expects it to be in as good a condition as He left it—in this we have already failed. Yet that failure is no reason to give up trying.
The over-consumption of produce is causing famine in some countries as they export all their food. Pollution poisons countless people every day. Our obsession with cheap buys and discount sales means slavery and unbelievable sweat shop conditions for countless thousands. What we buy, where we shop, and how we live are important because they have knock-on effects for things God cares about. We cannot be saved by our shopping and manufacturing habits, but as with all good works, our duty, joy, and privilege to serve God as faithful stewards in response to our salvation.