I’m wearing my “Adopt A Tree” shirt today… yes for the second time in four days (I’m having laundry issues)… anyhow, it must be affecting my mood because i’m feeling extra hippie environmentalist.
There’s a lot that Christians, as stewards of this earth, should be doing to care and maintain for what God has entrusted to us.
I’m not going to take the uber-environmentalist approach with you, because I know how polarizing that can be, but I did want to remind you of our responsibilities and some easy ways you can fulfill them.
The scriptural call to environmentalism and the political call are two different matters. As Christians, I believe taking a look at the word will help shape your outlook regardless of your political affiliations.
Genesis 1:28 states, “And God blessed them, and God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth”. We have dominion over this planet but that does not make it ours to do with as we like without consideration for God’s intentions.
We are reminded of God’s intentions for the planet in the story of Noah and the great covenant. God makes a covenant with all of humanity and he includes all other creatures and the earth.
And God said, “This is a sign of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: I set my bow in the sky, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth.”
We are image-bearers of God and that sets us apart from the rest of creation. God has given us special standing and the responsibility of stewardship over this planet. A steward is “a person who manages another’s property or financial affairs; one who administers anything as the agent of another or others”. To have stewardship over something is to be entrusted with caring for something and preventing abuse or destruction. We are responsible for managing resources and maintaining “value”.
Some would argue that scripture defines the earth as a temporary thing and therefore how we care for it is of little consequence. The first part of that is certainly true. Our job is not to necessarily to prevent the planet from ever perishing. 2 Peter 3:10 tells us that that at the end of times the earth will be destroyed: “But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare.” 2 Peter goes on to tell us that we should look forward to a new heaven and a new earth.
But until that day we are to concern ourselves with our call to be good stewards of earth for as long as it lasts.
I’m certainly not claiming to have mastered this calling. To borrow some trendy terminology, I am far from living “Green” but I know what’s expected of me and I want to continue trying to honor that.
Here are some easy ways you can be a good steward:
One of the biggest strains on our planet is in the way we get from point A to point B. Try carpooling, biking, walking, or public transportation. Since my car broke down i’ve had this notion thrust upon me but i’m glad for it. Leaving your car in the driveway, even just a few days a week, can make a difference.
You don’t have to jump right to expensive solar panels to put a dent in our carbon emissions. I started with using energy-efficient light bulbs and being intentional about shutting off lights/computer etc…
Addressing this not only helps with water but also with the energy used to filter, transport etc… This one is also a pet peeve for me: it’s so simple! Turn OFF the water. Take shorter showers, fill the dishwasher completely, turn off the water while you brush your teeth, and maybe invest in some water-saving shower-heads.
REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE! It may be old school but it still makes sense. I’m all about the goodwill clothes and the furniture I rescue from someone else’s curb. You can recycle a lot more than just soda cans. But if second-hand threads and furniture is pushing it for you than start small and work your way. I recycle my cans and plastic, invested in reusable shopping bags, and bookmarked craigslist on my computer :)
There’s so much more, and if you’re anything like me you have a long way to go, but I hope this helps you get the ball rolling.