Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Saving the Planet

“It’s easy to sleep at night when you’re saving the planet.”

That slogan was posted prominently in my hotel bathroom, accompanied by a word or two about reusing towels. I’m reminded of a woman who encouraged Americans to use “one less paper towel each day”—since it all adds up. But what is my daily allotment of paper towels, anyway?

I am all for being good stewards of what God has given us. I think Hummers are overkill. I believe black smoke billowing from trucks or factories cannot be God’s endgame, and that being wasteful is sinful.

But I must take issue with this idea that it’s easy to sleep at night when you’re saving the planet.
First of all, in all the great movies, those who are saving the planet get very little sleep. They are usually forced to work overtime to save the planet. And a lot of the saving tends to unfold at night-time.

Second, Jesus actually did save the planet—and he didn’t sleep well the night before. Do you remember Gethsemane? He sweat great drops of blood, praying, “My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me—but not my will, but yours be done.”

And third, those who are trying to the save the planet these days—if they really mean business—are constantly worried about everything! My source for left-leaning news, Slate.com, is frequently asking questions like these:

“Which fruits, vegetables, and other crops have the smallest environmental footprints?”
“How bad should I feel about taking hot showers?”
“Is it a sin to leave your cell phone plugged in overnight?”

And more!

This is what the Bible means when it speaks about living by the law. We can never do enough. If we try to save ourselves (or, by extension, our own planet), one of two things will happen: we will either try really hard and land in despair, or we will not try very hard at all but still give ourselves a huge pat on the back for “saving the planet.”

My advice: Realize that you are not the savior. Trust Jesus as the Savior. And then, as you live for him, try to keep the place relatively clean.

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