I remember a few weeks ago I decided to bring my own cup and straw to Starbucks so I wouldn’t end up with a single-use plastic cup and straw. It wasn’t a big deal, just something I like to do when I can remember. I never made an announcement or said anything about it, I just brought my own cup and straw.
“Oh, good thing you brought your cup and straw! Otherwise, you would totally kill the entire planet and everything in it just because of one cup!” Someone piped up, in a mocking tone.
“Why does this have to be such a big deal?” I thought.
Is this such a big deal?
Is It Wrong to Want to Conserve?
Conservation is a topic that is either talked about with extreme enthusiasm (in one extreme or another) or not discussed at all. There never seems to be an in-between for this subject. I am not going to make this post about politics, nor am I going to say that one political party is right or wrong.
However, I will say that this seems to be seen as a more “liberal” issue. And by “liberal issue” I mean that it is usually something that the left side of politics seems to root for, more than the “conservative” side.
What is my stand on conservation? Well, a lot of conservationists tend to believe that we need to conserve because if not, we will destroy the planet. As Christians, we can know that this belief is incorrect, as we read that God spoke to Noah and said, “I will never again curse the ground for man’s sake, although the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; nor will I again destroy every living thing as I have done” (Genesis 8:21). We also read that Jesus is “upholding all things by the word of His power” (Hebrews 1:3).
If God promised not to destroy mankind and Jesus is the sustainer of the world, how can we destroy the earth? How arrogant must we be to know that Christ sustains the earth (though most don’t so we must be patient with them), but to still believe that we can destroy it? This is why many Christians and many “conservative minded” individuals do not partake in conservation.
What’s Your Reasoning?
However, just because the reasoning behind something is wrong, does that mean that the thing itself is wrong? Absolutely not! The entire book of Galatians is Paul telling the people that they do not need to heed Judaising teachers because they were binding things from the old law that were not commanded in the new law.
The main issue Paul is speaking about in the first two chapters of Galatians is circumcision, of which he says, “For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision avails anything, but a new creation,” (Galatians 6:15). Just because the binding of circumcision as a law was wrong, does not mean circumcision is.
What does all this have to do with conservation? A lot of times, whenever I hear someone disagree about conservation, I usually hear that it is wrong to conserve. I often hear ridicule on the party that chooses to conserve, and even people intentionally using more plastic, littering, and doing other things that are generally frowned upon by conservationists, just to spite that community. This not only becomes an issue of conservation but of love and a Christian attitude as well.
Be Careful of Extremes
Any idea that is brought to an extreme is never a good thing. If one says that you must conserve, never use plastic, never throw anything away, and never utilize tools around you just because they may be considered bad for the environment, that is a wrong extreme. In fact, the use of plastic and wood is not exactly terrible for the environment, but the mass at which it is produced and used can be.
However, saying “I am going to do as much as I can to tear down trees, destroy plants, and do things that I know will harm the world around me,” is also an extreme that would be considered wrong. So where is the middle ground? Should we try to conserve? Should we not? Should we just not worry about it? Should we worry about it more?
It’s About Stewardship
Most people are taught throughout childhood to take care of their things. Children are taught not to keep their clothes on the floor, not to throw things around, or color on their toys with markers. As we get older, we learn more about how to take care of the things that we have. We learn how to take care of our cars, our homes, and other people.
As we experience these things for ourselves and learn to appreciate them, we learn that keeping things clean and neat and taking proper precautions can make things last longer and stay in good condition. We do this for the things we own and the things we enjoy.
When we look around at the world we live in, the world that God gave us to live in, we must think of it in the same way. We want to be good stewards of the things that God has given us, and nature is one of those things. This land gives us food, water, oxygen, etc.
I am not saying that we have to give up every plastic container we have ever owned, or that if you use straws you are to be condemned. However, having an attitude of stewardship is very important to have! Doing things like being mindful of what you use and throw away, taking care of your community, and caring about the welfare of the world around you are important.
Should Christians Care About Conservation?
Do I believe conservation is necessarily a Biblical issue? No. Do I believe that having an attitude of stewardship, and taking care of the gifts and blessings given to us by God is a Biblical issue? Absolutely.
There are so many other ways that this attitude can be addressed, but this hot-button issue is an excellent example of realizing that we should not take an extreme just because people we don’t necessarily agree with go to the opposite extreme, and that we should care of the things around us.
In my next article, I’m going to be discussing different ways we can conserve, and a little more on being good stewards of the things we have. I’d like to challenge you all to consider conservation and to consider your attitude towards some of these movements that are being made towards these things.
Most importantly, I’d like to challenge you to keep a Christian-like attitude in all things, even the seemingly small ones.