Ask Chuck: How Do I Steward the Earth and My Money?
I try to be responsible to recycle, use a non-plastic water bottle, and do all the “right things” when it comes to taking care of the earth. There was recently an article about how hotels are getting rid of their small shampoo and conditioner bottles to save plastic, and it got me thinking – what is too far? Sometimes it’s more expensive to take care of the earth, so how does stewardship of the earth and our money intersect?
Trying to Do My Part
Really good question that was informative to me! I travel a lot so I’m always bringing home those little toiletry bottles from hotels. But apparently not for much longer!
InterContinental Hotels and Marriott International cited several reasons for phasing out the use of the small bottles:
- they are rarely recycled and end up in landfills
- the small bottles run out when several guests stay in a room
- and the small caps often fall into drains causing maintenance issues.
But these bottles are only one part of the trash in our landfills. It is indeed a problem that needs to be addressed and balanced with financial realities.
Christians should be the best stewards of the earth. It is God’s beautiful and bountiful creation. If we believe the Bible is the infallible Word of God, then we know God is the Creator.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1).
The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein… (Psalm 24:1)
We are His managers, so protecting the environment that He created and that supplies us with our needs to stay alive should be a priority for all of us.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. (Colossians 1:16)
The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it. (Genesis 2:15)
God called his creation good – multiple times. Seeing our planet as a beautifully created gift from God, we should be motivated to care for it, protect it, and use its resources wisely.
But our worship must be directed to the Giver, not the gift. It is our privilege to manage it wisely and give glory to God in the use of all He has provided us. We must protect it for those coming after us and think about our stewardship eternally.
“And this, I think, is our challenge: to treat the planet today as we will treat the new earth, exercising dominion without pillaging, exploiting without destroying, faithfully stewarding God’s great gift.” Tim Challies
It is important that we each do our part and teach others to do likewise. In our home, we recycle, shred paper and use it in the garden, try to compost, and avoid products packaged with excess paper or plastic. My wife carries reusable bags for her grocery shopping. We avoid the use of chemicals on our property and have the most “organic lawn” (i.e weeds) on our street because they’re ultimately not good for us or the earth.
Tom Hennigan, co-author of The Ecology Book, writes, “People most concerned with creation care should be those who have been reconciled with Christ. Their motivation is to share the gospel, protect human life, and steward and appreciate the creation in a way that realigns us back to worship and obedience to Christ.”
When the earth suffers because of our apathy, greed, materialism, and selfishness, we sin against our Creator. Gratitude for our planet and the role He’s assigned us, coupled with an eternal perspective, brings an awareness and desire to care for creation. May our concern grant opportunities to share the gospel with those who love the earth but desperately need to know and love the One who made it.
Caring for the Earth and Our Budget
Stewarding well does not have to be expensive. There are some upfront and ongoing costs – like recycling fees, purchasing reusable grocery bags, and investing in eco-friendly products (like water bottles).
But in the long-run, you should save money by stewarding the earth well. Cut down on the disposables you buy, reuse what you have, and grow what you can yourself.
- Do your part: every person makes a difference
- Live simply: purchase only what you need
- Practice humility: ignore fashion trends in clothing, food, and phones
- Plan ahead: carry a refillable water bottle and coffee thermos, pack your lunch
- Share the truth: thank the Giver for the gift and demonstrate your appreciation in real ways
Stewardship is far more than managing time, talents and money. It is being faithful to God with all He has entrusted to our care. Caring for this temporary home is one way we can be found faithful to our great Creator, the Father of all these natural beauty and resources.
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Originally published on the Christian Post, May 25, 2018