It's Not Easy Being Green!
by Alan Allegra 1/17/2008 / Stewardship
Muppet fans will recognize our title as Kermit the Frog's signature song, written by Joe Raposo. Kermit realized that being "green" was the best way to be, especially because he had no choice!
Being "green" has taken on a different meaning lately. It is the rallying cry of the ecologically-conscious, environmentally-concerned culture of our times. When someone claims to be "green," it doesn't mean that he is a frog turned prince or she is a mermaidit means that person is taking active steps to clean up the planet.
The Bible has principles relating to the care of the earth, under the banner of what we call "stewardship." The word "steward" may not be a familiar word to us. It means "manager," and theologians apply it to mankind's responsibility to Creation.
When Adam and Eve were created, "God blessed them and said to them, 'Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground'" (Genesis 1:28). The word "subdue" means to care for and use the creation for man's benefit and God's glory. Mankind was given a home furnished with good and gorgeous flora and fauna, and was commanded to "work it and take care of it" (Genesis 2:15).
After the flood, Noah's family was commanded to replenish the earth, and animals were added to the menu to feed mankind (Genesis 9:13). Mankind was, and still is, in charge of the planet.
The earth and skies were made to be enjoyed and to glorify God (Psalm 19:1; 1 Timothy 6:17). It is difficult to enjoy polluted air and water, disappearing resources, and extinct animals. We have been given these assets to manage, not to squander. Even time is to be managed well. After Paul reminds us how to live, he says, "See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil" (Ephesians 5:15). In other words, don't pollute your life and squander your time.
The future of Planet Earth is being debated with renewed vigor. A generation ago, the big fear was the coming Ice Age. It's too hot. It's too cold. There's no more oil. There's plenty of oil. The only thing we can agree on is that there is no agreement. We need a reliable source to tell us what the future holds for Planet Earth.
The Economic and Social Research Center of the UK reports that "being green" isn't easyconsumers are confused as to what steps to take. Some take token efforts and splurge in other areas, while people at the other extreme fanatically investigate every little detail. The ESRC recommends a greater emphasis on consumer education to improve our stewardship. The Bible educates us about stewardship as well.
An example of stewardship is found in Matthew 25:1430. Basically, a master gave his servants money to manage. Three of them doubled their share, while one buried his in the ground. When the master returned, he rewarded the three who managed wisely, and punished the one who did nothing.
Another example comes from Luke 12:4248. If the steward takes proper care of the household, he is rewarded. If he abuses himself and his servants, he is punished. God clearly cares about how we manage the resources He has entrusted us withthe air we breathe, the water we drink, the body we wear, the money we spend, and the surroundings we enjoyand will deal with us according to our faithfulness.
It is wise to take steps to "save" the earth. It is wiser still to take steps to save our souls. God's Word gives us the final statement on the future of our beloved planet: "The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare . . . That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness" (1 Peter 3:10, 12, 13). Talk about global warming!
In light of the above prophecy, "Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming" (1 Peter 3:11, 12). It is right to "be green" to save the earth; it is imperative to believe the gospel to save your soul.