Loving Others And Caring For The Planet
The colours of Fall are everywhere, reminding us of the beauty of the world in which we live. The world is phenomenal, the diversity of ecology and the majesty of landscapes are breathtaking. This world is our home, a home we are not only blessed by God to live in but also to steward and care for. For whatever reasons, Christians do not have the greatest track record with caring for or stewarding the beautiful creation we call home. I want to share three biblical reasons why humanity should care for the environment.
First, Jesus called His followers to love God with all they are and to love their neighbours as themselves (Matthew 22:39). As such, since our world is a finite resource, we need to be sure that what we consume personally is not beyond what is possible for the rest of world, our neighbours on planet earth. In other words, we can’t consume all of the resources at the expense of someone else’s well being, whether that person is on the other side of the planet or a future generation. The biblical call to love our neighbour beacons us to use the earth resources with concern for all people and for future generations. The fact is, at our current rate of consumption in North America, driven by our insatiable appetite to consume, we would need several earths for the entire planet to live as we do. Encouragingly, technology is rapidly evolving. Through sustainable energy, new food production techniques and greater medical care, the ability for everyone on the planet to eat and live with a comfortable and sustainable lifestyle is on the horizon. This does not diminish the need for us to recognize the impact our current lifestyles are having, but it does give us hope for the future.
Secondly, the Bible teaches that the whole earth is God’s (Psalm 24:1), entrusted to us rather than seen as ours to use as we selfishly desire. Scripture clearly teaches here that the world is not ours but God’s and we should treat it as His. The Bible also teaches in the first chapter of Genesis (first book of the Bible) that God gave humanity the role to steward and care for creation.
Thirdly, we are constantly commanded to be good stewards in Scripture. This can extend to our finances, our time, our talents and our resources but surely it also extends to the limited resource of the earth. As such, we should be concerned with how our resources are stewarded and, consequently, Christians should be the first ones to care for the planet and steward God’s creation.
I am not saying this as someone who does all this well. I am challenged with how to consistently live this out in my life, but it is something that I am becoming increasingly concerned about as I reflect on the impact of my choices on those around me, as well as the legacy I am leaving for my children and future generations. This is an area we should be concerned with, an area we should be aware of, and an area where followers of Jesus should be seen as advocates and change agents in our world.