I was born and raised in wild and wonderful Hedgesville, West Virginia. We had plenty of greenery, a creek in the backyard, and plenty of old dirt roads; it was a country boys heaven. Yet even with all that natural beauty around me, I thought it wasnt for me. See, I thought living out in the sticks was boring. Nowadays, though, Ive changed my mind; its like the old saying–you never know what you have until you lose it.
One year ago, only days before celebrating this planet we call home, the gulf coast was paralyzed as its natural beauty began to be poisoned. That was one of the things that served as a wake-up call for my family. It caused me to really question why I didnt do my part for the environment. Although my words said I cared about creation, my actions didnt.
The Bible talks about the Great Commandment (Matthew 28:16-20) and the Great Commission (Matthew 22:36-40), but the oil spill caused me to realize that, as a believer, I was committing what I call the great omission. I was so wrapped up in other seemingly more spiritual things that I ignored the very Garden weve been blessed to live in.
Since last April my family and I have begun taking steps, be it baby steps, toward a more environmentally conscious life. We contacted our local waste management company and signed up for their recycling programs. Weve taken the step to change all of the light bulbs in the house from the standard bulb to the compact florescent bulbs. When we are able, we do our best to purchase greener foods (i.e., eggs from free range chickens, etc.). Additionally, in the summer weve turned the thermostat up a few degrees and have turned it down a few in the winter much to our initial discomfort.
One commitment my family and I have made besides furthering our own pursuit of a creation care oriented lifestyle is that weve also began supporting a nonprofit to bring clean water to people who lack it. I say all this not to boast in my familys tiny progress but to say that anyone and everyone is capable of doing something to better this world, not just for our families but for the future generations.
Creation care is a journey that you must be willing to walk. Much like anything worthwhile in life, you cant get to where you want to be overnight; with creation care you have to allow the chance to learn, grow, and experience the impact it is making.
As believers, we must grasp the reality that our faith, our message, isnt just about the afterlife but also the present life.
Jason Hess is a minister, blogger (eckSermonator) and pest management professional. He currently resides in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia with his wife, Myra, and their three children.