Okay, before you make any violent reaction, let me tell you first that I still do believe that we should take care of the environment. First, because it is a God-given mandate to all human beings to be stewards of God’s creation. And second, because the state of our environment can really affect the state of our well-being.
Last Friday, I attended a meeting and was glad to see my former officemate there. We used to work together in an environmental NGO and we’re still both working in the field of environmental conservation and sustainable development. After our usual ‘catching up’ conversation, our topic went back to work-related stuff. Then we suddenly shifted to talking about our future plans and my friend expressed his frustrations and disappointments about development work and the quality of life here in Manila. He confessed that what he really wants is just to stay in the province and live a simple and stress-free life. He also shared that sometimes, he can’t help but wonder what’s the point of doing all these environment-related work when we know that God will destroy this planet in the end? This friend of mine is also a Christian so I said I agree with him and share the same sentiment. I told him that sometimes, I also ask God if what we are doing are really worth the effort since this world is not really meant to stay forever.
My friend further shared that out of frustration, he even asks God when will the rapture be, just so because we all wanted these frustrating things in the world to end. The meeting was about to start so we ended our conversation there.
Our discussion was actually short but for me, it was meaningful and comforting because it was really nice to know that there are still people out there who share my views about environment and development work. As a Christian who is working in the development sector, it is really a struggle for me to stay passionate about my work because I know that no matter what I do, my output will never have a lasting value. Yes, it can contribute in making the lives of the people comfortable for a while, but later on, seemingly new problems and issues will arise. I said seemingly new because, the emerging issues are not actually new as the root of most problems is the same ~~ SIN. As what the teacher in Ecclesiastes says,
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there anything of which one can say,
“Look! This is something new”?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.
(Ecclesiastes 1:9-10 NIV)
“Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher.
“Utterly meaningless! Everything is meaningless.”
(Ecclesiastes 1:2 NIV)
Unless we address the cause of the problem of this world, everything will be meaningless.
The good news is, God has already addressed the problem of SIN by sending His Son, Jesus. And with Jesus’ death on the cross and resurrection, we can now overcome the world by His power, if we will also allow Him to rule our life. So as Christians, we can always escape the corruption of this world by holding on to God’s promises.
Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires. (2 Peter 1:4 NIV)
Just to make sure that I get the point, God gave me this Word the following day:
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;(Psalm 24:1 NIV)
The commentary in the Bible I am using for my quiet time said that because “the earth is the Lord’s”, we are all stewards or caretakers. We should be committed to the proper management of this world and its resources. However, we are not to become devoted to anything created or act as sole proprietor because this world will pass away.
In conclusion, the environment and its resources were given to us by God for our own use and enjoyment. As stewards, we are expected to use these resources wisely. However, we should not also hold on to these resources too tightly, as if it is more important than humanity itself, because God will someday make this world disappear. My earthly work is important, but winning souls is far more important and more fulfilling because it has eternal value.