Faith and recycling

By Pastor Eric Shin, First United Church, Little Falls

Inspirational-Message-websiteDo you recycle? Are you a follower of Christ? What do these two questions have to do with each other?

The answer is simple; faithful followers of Christ recycle.

For many of you who don’t know me, I am the farthest from being the poster child of the green party or the green movement. I am the one who used to make fun of my mother who would wash and reuse the zip-lock bags. I am also the one who would tell her not to use “cottage cheese” containers because they were not “Tupperware.”

I often felt like I needed to go to confessionals to confess that I have not recycled as I should, nor have I been careful about throwing things away, or encouraged others to do so. A main reason why I have not recycled is because of laziness.

Proverbs has harsh words for the lazy sluggard who is so lazy that he cannot bring himself to lift his hands up to feed himself. But this message is not so much our laziness but about our lack of faithfulness. Let me explain. When God created Adam and Eve, God charged us to multiply and have dominion over all living things, including the world. This was God’s mandate for all of us to be good caretakers or stewards of the earth.

I know few people who have done this well. The closest group of people that may have lived this way of life would be the First Nation People. And from what I have seen, we have been great consumers but not great stewards.

As Paul says to the Romans, “We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present.” Romans 8:22.

The amazon forest is being wiped away for what little specks of gold that remain. People and nations are fighting one another over water. Literally, tons of food is wasted each day while many go hungry even in our back yard.

As a society, we go through so many things and we dump and bury so many things.

Is that God’s hope and plans for his people? Can there be a better way to live faithfully as God’s caretakers of this world?

I believe we can. But it begins with our faithfulness. As we are faithful to God’s ways, we begin to see that we can be content without having all that excess. We can also learn to be good stewards by caring for all creation, meaning recycling and reusing what we can.

In a recent news article, the Lebanese government has been unable to pick up garbage for two weeks. This was primarily due to a weak government but also limited resources. People were shown wearing masks because the smell of the garbage was unbearable.

Yet there were individuals and small groups of people who wanted to solve the issue of the rotting garbage that has been piling up all over their city. They decided to be good stewards of God’s creation by recycling. This meant learning about what can be recycled, composted, and reused.

I am glad that I live in a city that is committed to recycling and being good stewards of God’s world. I just pray that we can be faithful in that endeavor.

Blessings to you all.