Hi! Welcome to Redeem the Commute. I’m Ryan, your host for to the daily challenge. Today is Thursday, it’s a day we try to live out what we’ve been learning all week. This week, as part of our series on Reset, we’ve been looking how following Jesus resets our views of nature, the natural world around us. We’ve already explored that in the bible.
We seen how God’s plan for the world, for the kingdom God is not just some spiritual idea, but actually something very much connected with the physical, natural world that we live in. Our natural bodies are even part of God’s plan. And so, God’s creation is not something disposable that we’re all going to fly away from and see burned up, but something God has a plan for. God said it was good. God has a plan for it to be good in his kingdom as well.
So what does that mean for us as followers of Jesus? How do we actually try to live out some respect for God’s creation, for God’s masterpiece, this work of art that we live in and are part of? This might seem like a natural given part of our world, well surely, the world is getting more concerned with the environment. We have recycling now, we have compost and all that.
But don’t just assume that the natural structures in our world and governments are going to take care of following Jesus for us in any respect. For example, I just would have assumed that younger generations were that much more concerned with the environment. We learned about it in school and so on, but I actually just saw a statistic this week that said millennials, the generation that is coming of age and entering the workforce now are significantly less concerned with the environment than gen X’ers who went before them.
We can’t just assume that with new generations, growing with an awareness of global warming and things like that, we’re always going to see progress and improvement. As followers of Jesus, we need to take responsibility. If we truly believe this is God’s creative work of art, something to be respected and cared for, part of God’s plan for his kingdom than we as followers of Jesus need to be at the forefront of taking care of it.
I wish I could just give you a hard and fast set of rules of what to do to take care of the environment, to do just enough for God to love you and give you good things. But, we here at Redeem the Commute are always concerned with how we see God’s grace working in the world. We start with God’s love, God’s plan to redeem us and adopt us into his family and then having been adopted into that family. That’s when Jesus resets our views of nature and the environment.
This is not just a simple set of rules that you have to follow to earn God’s love, rather this is a question saying how much can I care for God’s creation to show God how thankful I am for what he has given me, for his redemption of me and my body and my world around me. For he’s adopting me back into his family. This is a question of how much we can do in order to thank God.
Some people have suggested that for followers of Jesus, there aren’t just three R’s, reduce, reuse and recycle, but that we should have five R’s. The five R’s would begin with reverence for seeing that God’s creation is his work of art, something to be revered and respected and honored.
Just like if you went to a friend’s showing at an art studio. You probably wouldn’t walk around and say, “Oh this is terrible stuff.” But you’d want to respect the work that they’d put in to that and your friendship with them would mean that you’d want to see their art in the best possibly light and care for it that you wouldn’t be going and destroying them. Same way as we walk around this natural world, we want to show reverence for it. That means teaching our children not to liter and throw things on the ground, to try to have the least impact possible.
There’s a rule that I follow in camping. To leave nothing but footsteps and take nothing but photographs. It’s actually not a bad rule for any of us walking through this life. Try to leave behind as little waste as possible and take away as little as possible from its natural environment. It’s a way to show reverence for God’s creation.
The secondary would be reducing. Reducing how much we consume and use. There are all sorts of practical ways to do that. You know what, sometimes, it’s a little less convenient but it’s important that we do. So we’re not needlessly using resources we could find elsewhere.
For example, I needed a hose one day that I could attach to my hot water heater and just run to the drain in the ground. I didn’t need to go and buy a whole new hose for that. It would be a terrible waste because I’d be cutting it anyway. And so what I did is I just kind of watched and waited for a neighbor to throw a hose, then I went and asked and took their old hose they didn’t need. It was all kinked up, but you know what? I could get the three to four feet that I needed in that hose and not worry about the kinks later on.
I was able to reduce our family’s consumption. I was able to do the job I needed to do which actually had its own benefits of protecting our basement and I was able to do it without buying new things, having them shipped half way around the world and so on.
The third R is to reuse, to take what we’ve got and keep using it. I keep a number of things around scraps just in case they’re going to come in handy at some point and it’s amazing to use as we find for things that we thought were garbage. So try to keep what you can around. I don’t want you to clutter up your house, but try to reuse things that you think might not be necessary anymore.
The fourth R would be to recycle and that’s something that our culture is actually pretty good at. We have lots of opportunities to recycle. It just takes a little time and effort to divide things up properly make sure that you’re putting things in the right place so they can be recycled and turned on to other products.
The fifth R is to repair what we’ve got. Sometimes, I know in our culture, it’s easier to just replace something. It’s actually pretty encouraged in our culture. Lots of things aren’t made to last and sometimes it cost a little more money to repair something.
For example, we’ve got a vacuum cleaner that I could have probably replaced for the same amount of money it’s going to cost to buy the replacement parts to keep it going in the future, but I can’t bear the thought of throwing the whole thing away. It would just seem like such a waste of plastic and electronics. It wouldn’t be right.
Even though it might cost me more money in the end to keep replacing parts and keep this thing going, for now it’s seems more appropriate to repair. That’s the fifth R, to repair what we’ve got and keep it going for the future. It means less waste, less garbage and less buying of new things. Sometimes it will even save you money. My example, not so much.
I recognize that this kind of thing can be hard in a busy commuting lifestyle. Many of us don’t feel we have a lot of extra margin in our lives, we don’t have a lot of extra time to be repairing things and trying to reuse things. We’re trying to keep our lives as simple as we can because they’re so hectic in other areas.
However, I think this is an important part of what it means to follow Jesus is that we take God’s creation, God’s work of art seriously enough that it’s worth our extra effort, little extra time in order to show that reverence to respect it by repairing and reusing and recycling and reusing whatever we can.
Challenge: Think through the five R’s. Reverence, reduce, reuse, recycle, and repair. Think through those things and write down maybe in your phone, in the note section or on a piece of paper what you can do this week to start taking each of these five R’s seriously. Just one little thing and then keep it going next week and next week and next week. Keep writing down a list of what you’re going to do this week, what will you repair, what will you reuse, what will you recycle.
Just to help us in a structured way, show that reverence for God’s creation, for God’s work art, playing out in all different areas of our lives. At work, at home and in between. Maybe you can discuss with a group that you’re meeting with regularly to do our challenges, what those five R’s are going to look like this week.
Don’t forget we’re reading the bible in sync as a community as well. You’ll find today’s reading in the upper website. Have a great discussion. I will see you tomorrow.