Was Jesus keeper of the greenhouse? In a struggling green world these days, having faith isn't easy.
What does faith have to do with global warming? It's a hot topic these days, but how is it all connected with faith? “Have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing…. See, I have given to you every plant…every tree…. God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good” (Genesis 1:28-31).
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15).
So, just how are we to cultivate and take care of the earth? Scripture doesn't command nor even suggest that we must become farmers! What it does mean, however, that we all have a responsibility to at least care for the earth. These are easy words to agree to in theory. After all, it feels wholesome to commit to caring for the earth.
Being good stewards of creation is wholly holy, natural and a certainly reasonable and should be expected from those who feel grateful for the gifts we've been given from God... right? After all, if we don't appreciate the gifts we are given, why on earth should we be granted another?
But it isn’t as easy as it sounds — even considering Jesus set the fate of a fig tree to be barren the rest of it's life. There are times we must cut down a tree, or at least prune its limbs. Or dig up a patch of flowers which have choked out other flowers trying in vain to grow, only to be choked out by another.
But what about those pesky critters and insects that can delete the fruits of our hard work more quickly than we can delete spam? Should we use pesticides on crops, poison the moles or spend extra on organic remedies? What if our kids won’t eat the apples because they don’t look as pretty as the ones in the store?
There are plenty of other thorny conundrums for conscientious Christians who want to honor God’s creation by preserving and protecting it. In the end, many of us just get tired of the complexity and mixed messages, throw up our hands and murmur, “What difference will it make to the ozone if I recycle a few soda cans each week?”
What each of us does, however, can make a difference combined with others. First, we must take personal responsibility for our own actions. Whether it’s refraining from lying, caring for those in need, or respecting the environment, our own actions are the ones we control. We must start by responding consistently to God’s call to be faithful stewards of creation. In addition, there is the dimension of witness.
Who knows when someone might see our small efforts at recycling and decide to do something similar?
Then there is the reality that, as members of the human community, we are not isolated beings dependent only upon ourselves. Dispiriting murmurs should be passed through the prism of community. Instead of “What difference will my action make?” we might ask, “What if everyone took my action?”
What if everyone just threw their soda cans into the trash? What if everyone recycled them? The “everyone” test can often help us see more clearly.
Now my only question is, "Was Jesus a Coke or Pepsi fan"... I'm sure he would know what to so with his can... I bet he was more a Dr. Pepper kind of man!