After God created human beings, He gave them a powerful command: “Fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

Yet some have abused this duty.

In his famous poem “To a Mouse,” Robbie Burns wrote:

“I’m truly sorry man’s dominion,
Has broken nature’s social union,
An’ justifies that ill opinion,
Which makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An’ fellow-mortal!…”

It’s truly a shame that a few people have misused their abilities, and in so doing, brought pain to others.

And yet, there are many “earth-born companions” who are using their strengths for good. It was human beings who slaughtered the gorillas of the Congo without mercy; yet other human beings are risking their lives to treat these creatures with compassion.

Many others are giving of their personal gifts to aid the cause—whether in a monetary sense, in their talents, or in simply sharing a kind word, their compassion is evident.

Every so often, it’s good for us to remind ourselves of our duty as stewards on this planet. And in doing so, we may also remember that this responsibility of dominion, by its very nature, requires compassion.


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