Photo by idea ablaze
So, we’re cleaning out and decluttering our stuff, and getting rid of 100 items this month. (Oh, and I need to get going on that!) But I really believe that our relationship with our stuff, and our view of creation care, goes beyond just what we use, and have, and keep in our homes.
I wanted to take the opportunity to share a little bit of my heart about this. It’s something I’ve been convicted of and been thinking about a lot over the past months/year.
The last time I tried to write about this subject, our stuff, I didn’t get
much any response from people. I don’t know if I was just too negative, or too harsh in the way that I approached it, or if people just really like their stuff, so I’m going to try to articulate myself in a different way this time.
My reasoning behind going green, creation care, saving the environment, whatever you want to call it, is not because I am a tree-worshiper. I do believe that God created the world and that He reveals Himself to us through His creation, and calls us to be careful stewards of all that He has given us. But it is about more than that.
“Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40
For me, it is about loving people.
I believe, that as a Christian, I am called to love God, and love my neighbor, which I am learning basically means all people, as myself.
The thing is, we as human beings don’t exist on this earth in isolation. We are interconnected. Not in some new-age way, but literally – we are connected to the resources that we have, or don’t have, and use in our environments, and our use of these resources affects others who also have, or don’t have, and need the same resources.
Even as our world is growing and there are more people on earth today than ever, our world is also getting smaller. The choices that I make have an impact far beyond my family, my home, my neighborhood, my city, and even my country.
When Jesus tells us to love our neighbors He is not just talking about the people that live on either sides of our houses – our neighbors include people around this whole world. And the choices I make regarding my use of resources, and my stuff, has an affect on others, both nearby and far away.
My friend and I were recently talking about how Americans, our society in general, are all about becoming less and less responsible.
We don’t want to be responsible for keeping, storing, or maintaining things, so we have turned into a disposable and consumer society. We don’t want to be responsible for our finances, so we use, and over use, credit and get ourselves into trouble.
We like our stuff, and we don’t want to be responsible for the effects that our choices have on others so we consume to our heart’s content (or not really, because consuming will never really make us content, in fact it usually leads to more and more discontent) and ignore or turn a blind eye to issues like child and slave labor, pollution and deforestation of third world countries and dangerous working environment for people that make our stuff. As well as even broader issues of hunger and disease and poverty.
But we are responsible. We are responsible for the choices we make. And one day we will have to answer for the choices that we have made while living on this earth. Do our choices reflect that we love our neighbors as ourselves?
Love God, Love People
It sounds so simple, right? Yet it is so, so complex and indeed overwhelming at times. But this is what God has been teaching me and showing me. This is what He is stirring in my heart. And I hope that maybe by sharing, He will stir it in your heart as well.
As I write this I am humbled, because I definitely don’t get this right most of the time. But I am learning, and I am growing and I desire to be open to what God has and wants for me in this area of my life. And I just felt like He was nudging me to share some of that with you. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
He has shown you, O man, what is good.
And what does the LORD require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8