A Deeper Shade of Green

“Green is the new black.”

From the storefront windows to the newest episodes on children’s television, media tells us it’s “cool to be green.” Such talk opens up further conversations within my family about what it all means. It has served as an opportunity to share a biblical perspective on creation care.

Caring for the earth is more than a fad; it’s a matter of obedience.

It’s not uncommon to hear musicians and movie stars talking about “going green” or how they are taking a step to care for the environment. Some people jump on the cultural bandwagon in order to be part of the trendy crowd.

On the other hand, there are many who feel environmentalism is only talk for people who worship the creation rather than the Creator. Name-calling and labeling are commonly used to dismiss and put down anything that sounds like “tree hugging.”

Personally, I believe we should take seriously our care of creation not to be trendy but to be obedient.

Jonathan Merritt puts it this way: “If we take God’s plan to care for creation seriously, we cannot do so because it is trendy.” (1) Rather, we should seek a “deeper shade of green” because our stewardship of the earth is rooted in a divine command.

God’s first command to humans was “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it and have dominion” (Gen. 1:28). They were to have children and rule the earth. This was not a “rule” that included wasting and destroying. Rather, it was to care for it and give it boundaries so humanity could enjoy it. We see this later when Scriptures say “The LORD God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Gen. 2:15).

So our is not to debate whether we should care for the garden but how we care for the garden.

Our motivation is not to look cool in the crowd. This is lifeless and has no regard for long-term investment or faithful obedience. Our motivation is also not to take everything we can to make a point of our own importance. Neither is an appropriate response for one seeking to follow the heart and teachings of Jesus.

Instead, our response should be to read the Word and obey it. 

If God says to care for the garden, then we should be doing the best we can with what we have. We should be seeking new ways to become better stewards of the gifts he created for His glory and our enjoyment.

You already are aware of a number of ways to apply this, but for the sake of repetition, let me encourage you to consider a few ideas to get started.

  • Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. If you don’t need it, don’t buy it. Save your money and your sanity. We all have things we don’t need, and our time and money would be better used in helping those around us. Reuse plastic containers you get from the grocery and use them to take your lunch with you to work. After several uses, put them in the recycling container. I am shocked at how many homes I’ve visited where people have a recycling container next to the trash can and never use it! It’s a miracle a business or government agency would actually help in this way, and we should take full advantage.
  • Plant something. Start some containers of fresh herbs and save money on them later. Dig a small garden in your yard and try growing a couple of your favorite vegetables. Find a spot to plant a young tree to take the place of the larger ones which may come down in a storm. You don’t have to go out and buy a farm. Again, do what you can where you are with what you have.
  • Pick up trash. When I took one of my daughters with me to our local church’s effort to clean up trash along a local river, she had all sorts of questions about how the trash got there, why people did it, and “EEEWWW!” Picking up someone else’s litter might just cure you of your recklessness. Doing it with your children will also model responsible living. Most of the trash I pick up is in blown into my yard or found in my neighborhood. It doesn’t matter who put it there, I put it where it belongs because this is where I live.

You can easily find hundreds of ideas by surfing the web, commenting on this post or asking a friend.

My motivation for stewarding God’s creation is not to be trendy, political or cynical. It’s a sincere desire to be biblical. I have an incredible amount of growing to do and changes to make, but I pray each step I make moves me to greater obedience of God’s inspired Word.

What are some ways you are taking steps to obey God’s command to care for creation? Take a moment and share an idea or two to encourage others.

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