When I was a small boy in Aberdeen one of my biggest treats was to be allowed to go, very early in the morning, down to the harbour and the fish market. It was quite a sight. Boats were packed into the harbour and the boxes that they’d landed stretched away as far as the eye could see. It was fascinating to see the sheer quantity of fish and in amongst them some of the more rare and frankly sinister looking things that had been caught. But that was a long time ago and these days, if you went down to the harbour you’d have to look pretty hard to find the fish at all. There are still boats landing catches there but only a tiny fraction of the quantities that used to come ashore.
But something much more dramatic has changed in the harbour at Aberdeen and all because of an announcement made 42 years ago today.
That was when BP told the world that they had found huge quantities of oil in the UK sector of the North Sea. Aberdeen harbour would never be the same again. These days the Harbour is still packed with ships, but they are the huge, complicated and (for reasons I don’t quite understand) always brightly lit vessels that serve the off-shore platforms and rigs.
Some would claim that the oil industry in some way killed off the fishing. But in many ways, the oil was the salvation of Aberdeen harbour by replacing a dwindling natural resource with an exciting new one.
The riches of God’s creation are extraordinary and wonderful; but that doesn’t entitle us to complacently assume that we can keep on finding new dimensions to His generosity. We need to ask ourselves, maybe, whether we are using what we have – and distributing the benefits - with a loving concern for one another that reflects His for us.
Prayer: Father, thank You that your generosity towards us is so spectacular. May we never take it for granted. Amen