Everything that lives and moves will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. Genesis 9:3
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it. Psalm 24:1
It will be like a man going on a journey, who called his servants and entrusted his property to them. Matthew 25:14
Which is it? Genesis says God gives us everything. But in Psalms, we hear the earth is the Lord’s. Well, it’s both. We were given the most generous gift, our beautiful planet, to sustain us. At the same time, we are called in Matthew to be stewards of the earth, as the Lord has entrusted his property to us.
As we learned in a previous Good News, Earth Day is celebrated on April 22. What can you do to remember and celebrate God’s generous and unfathomable gift? It turns out; you only need to do One Small Thing. Find your passion. Is it sustainable gardening, cleaning up your neighborhood, donating to organizations that work toward sustaining the earth’s resources, changing your buying habits, or simply communing with nature? Ten years ago, I wrote the following article for the PRP newsletter. For me, it is still applicable today.
Caring for God’s Creation – Neighborhood Cleanup
In my recent Sunday school class, we covered the topic of Caring for God’s Creation. One of the suggestions was to start small and consider what you can do or change in your everyday routine to care for the environment. I love to walk my neighborhood but am distressed by the trash I see everywhere. So I decided to do something about it. I take a garbage bag with me on my walks and pick up the litter along the way. If the item is large or heavy, I wait until I am on the way home before picking it up. I usually take a small kitchen bag—that way I am not tempted to carry too much at one time. I also wear rubber gloves (the ones that come in the large box) for obvious reasons. If you walk the same route on a regular basis, you can gage how often you need to take the bag. Also, try changing your route so you can cover additional areas. Hopefully, people who observe you caring for God’s creation will want to follow your example.
In the 10 years since I wrote this article, the amount of trash has increased exponentially (and I now carry a “grabber”). Maybe it’s because of the Rumpke expansion. Or the increased use of plastics and take-out food. In talking with a store manager, I learned that people just dump their trash in the parking lot! While none of us can change everyone’s behavior, we can demonstrate our love for the earth by being good stewards. People are watching us. And sometimes they even say “Thanks.” So choose your One Small Thing today and just do it!