The closer I’ve come to know the Lord and His Word, the more I’ve begun questioning why Christians talk so little or do so little to steward our Earth. After all, it’s part of the first commandment God gave man. (Genesis 1:28) Yet, in our western culture, many Christians have clashed with “tree-huggers” and environmentalists who they’ve touted to care more for the Earth and its non-human creatures than mankind. I’ve heard Christians say things like, “Save the babies and forget the whales,” but why does it have to be either/or? Why can’t it be both, as God ordained?
Think about this: if you save a baby from abortion there’s no guarantee it will be free of congenital defects that are many times linked to environmental toxins. Many diseases and ailments are also caused by these toxins, which certainly inhibit our ability to fully serve the Lord and others.
God created an entire ecosystem that works in beautiful and perfect harmony when we do our part to care for it. Yes, He holds the whole world in His hands, and He chose to allow us to be a part of stewarding it, a responsibility that comes with great consequences.
Most churches are full of sick people praying for healing, yet we’re not obedient to God’s Word. Yes, God can and does heal regardless of our lifestyle choices, but we cannot simply ignore what He has asked us to do in stewarding ALL of creation: humans (our bodies), animals, and Earth alike.
I encourage Christians to consider what we’re eating and to be sure we’re choosing meats, fish, and poultry that have been raised to eat a diet natural to that animal, in an environment that’s good for the animal, and the workers too. It’s a win-win-win: better for the health of the animal, the worker, and yours too because God is wise. If you’re tempted to say “Well, animals don’t have souls so they’re not as important as humans to God,” you’re missing the point. I would ask about the pet you spoil who lives a much better life than many humans around the world. Because of our culture we can easily treat a pet better than family yet turn a blind eye to all other creatures. That’s possible mostly because we’re so far removed from our food system, clueless of all that it entails. What saddening hypocrisy and duplicity. How is that not being conformed to the patterns of this world? (Romans 12:2) We must learn to question our customs and seek to understand if they’re God’s ways or man’s ways.
I encourage Christians to become aware of the impact of every choice they make by following agencies like The Environmental Working Group to learn what changes you can start making, like switching from plastics to glass and other cosmetic and household product upgrades. Are you recycling? Do you reuse what you can before discarding it? What about the restaurants you frequent? What products are they using to serve your food and what impact does it have on our environment and our health? All of these small choices add up to make a big impact, just like the small doses of toxins we take in every day accumulate over time to make a big negative impact on our health.
Yes, this Earth is temporal and will one day be destroyed; however, that doesn’t negate the need to care for it while we’re here, as God has instructed us. If you truly believe God, trust His wisdom in how He created everything and how He ordained the care of all His creation, including our bodies, the temple of the Holy Spirit. (I Corinthians 6:19)
We cannot stick our heads in the sand when it comes to environmental issues, as they have a great impact on our bodies and our ability to do God’s work of loving others well. You cannot give what you don’t have, so start with self-care (not self-worship or self-obsession) in order to fulfill your purpose with the energy it requires.
Lord, we confess our abdication of responsibility for what you’ve called us to steward. We ask that you forgive us and help us to realize the impact this causes. Please open our eyes to your truth and the consequences of our actions so that by your grace we can live a life worthy of your calling, a life that reconciles others to you. Thank you for saving us from ourselves, for your desire to restore us back to your original design, and for the miraculous transformation you make of us to be conformed to Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.