Sunday, September 6, 2009

Does Jeses Want Us To Trash the Earth? -Greed-

Jesus said, "If your brother asks for your shirt, give him your coat, also." (Matthew 5:40)
I have never been asked for my shirt.
In Jesus' day, people had the clothes that they needed, and no more. If they gave away their shirt and their coat, they would cease to have a shirt and a coat.
I have four coats. I have my big winter coat, a necessity in Maine. I have two Spring/Fall coats. One is a nice Tommy Hilfiger, high quality, but doesn't zipper when in my last months of pregnancy. The other does zipper, no matter how pregnant I am, but is old and a little tattered. It is lower quality. My fourth coat, also a high quality Tommy Hilfiger coat, is hanging in my entrance decoratively. It is a decoration more than a coat.
Who needs my coats? We are in America, where the resources are plentiful and the human reproduction rate is plummeting. There is no one here that needs my coat. We have one homeless woman in our town. She has more coats than I do.
When I changed my family's diet, I cleaned a lot of food out of our cupboards. I didn't consider it a donation to the food bank. I considered it decluttering.
Jesus understands what a human's needs are. There is no doubt he thought it unethical to consume more than we need. But Jesus commanded to consume less than we actually need, and give sacrificially. That is, give in a way that hurts ourselves, for we will be cold without a shirt and a coat.
And what does this have to do with the environment? If we are using more than we need, we are using resources that are meant for future generations. We are taking from people who have not even been born yet. If Jesus commands us to give the only coat that we have, how much does he look on with shame as I, his daughter, have four coats that I don't use. And if I give them to the thrift shop to ease my conscious, who am I helping? I am putting the burden of guilt on others who probably also have too much.
What shall I do to make things right? I feel overwhelmed, as there is simply too much that we have too much of. I see my computer and electronics, my kids' toys, my nice wardrobe. How do I obey?
I think of the rich young ruler, who was told to sell all of their stuff and give it to the poor. I wish that is what I was told directly, for I am wealthier than 85% of the world's population. Was the rich young ruler even that wealthy?


scrappy quilter said...

For us, it means we don't have a lot. We live as simply as we can. We purchase thrift when we can and only as much as we need. I have one coat, one pair of jeans. We do donate to goodwill when we can. We purchase used when we need something. We've gotten over the "wants" in most areas. It's not how we use to live however it's how God wants us to live now. We are content!!

Anonymous said...

I was homeless for three years. Very few people seemed to notice or care. I was not sleeping in the streets. I spent it camping. There are many, many, many more homeless than you could ever know.

God asks us to tithe 10% of our income. He owns 100%, but lets us keep 90%. We are commanded to mourn with those who morn, help the sick and disabled, visit the widows and those in prison and to love one another as ourselves. I doubt that any of us lives up to our full potential to help others....

Rachel said...

Our pastor just preached a sermon last week on being a living sacrifice. I sat there wondering what it was that I could actually sacrifice after he described the difference between a gift and a sacrifice, and I realized that everything I thought I was sacrificing I was actually giving (like tithing and donating outgrown kids clothes to the church thrift store rather than selling them, etc., etc.). Definitely something to think about more.

Life is Good said...

This is such an excellent post. I hate that we have too much stuff. But even I don't know how to get rid of it. Who wants all this junk. Why do people give us so much?
And how can we keep an attitude of grattitude for the things that we have, when we clearly have too much stuff already?
Can you be grateful and still say no?

Erin T. said...

Very interesting post, my views differ from yours in a lot of ways, but I do value seeing a young mother who is actually thinking of doing things to please Jesus and God. I do feel that God is a reasonable God, in that, is it reasonable to get rid of your coats just because you aren't wearing them every day? No. If you had 100 coats as I'm sure some 'celebs' have, would it be reasonable to get rid of some? Certainly!

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