Pastor’s Friday Comments (02.01.19)

I saw a cartoon many years ago that reflects the mixed messages we receive every day. A young person is preparing to get dressed in the morning and he has laid out on the bed two tee shirts. He is trying to decide which to wear. One says, “Just say ‘No!’” The other says, “Just do it!”

Christians receive what seem to be mixed messages too. One is, “This world is not my home.” The other is, “This is my Father’s world.”

If you stick solely to the first message you might conclude that you have little responsibility for stewardship of the natural resources of our planet. We are citizens of another world. However, if you believe that “the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” (Psalm 24:1), then Christians, even more than others, have a responsibility for taking care of creation.

Yet, for reasons I can’t fully comprehend, we in the Church, particularly in the evangelical denominations, seem to be almost silent on the subject. We are forthright in declaring the need for people to make decisions about their eternal destination, but have little to say about the necessity of doing the best we can to protect the environment that currently surrounds us.

Certainly part of our need to be concerned has to do with the biblical admonition to love our neighbors as ourselves. Jesus broadened the definition of neighbor to include everyone, not just those who look like you. I would take it to mean everyone, not just those who are currently alive. The future generations are our neighbors too.

Only the willfully ignorant continue to deny that we are doing harm to the earth that may be irreparable. If we are depriving others of natural resources, even those of future generations, that’s not just foolish. From a theological perspective, that’s sin.

The institutional Churches, locally and globally, have a responsibility to speak out on this issue, but each of us, as followers of Christ, have a responsibility to act in ways that are environmentally positive. There are a hundred different ways that we can be friendlier to our world, but most of them involve common sense. Don’t waste resources. Use products that can be reused. Recycle. Before you engage in almost any activity, if you thought about it, you would know whether you were making the world a better or a worse place.

Every person alive needs to hear and heed messages like this one, but as a Christian you have both added responsibility and added resource. You have committed to acting as Christ would have you to act. But you have also been given the promise that God will be with you whenever you seek to do God’s will. That applies to environmental issues as much as to any other.

In the meantime, if you can think of ways that we can be more responsible in our use of resources at Parkway, let me know. We need to set the example.