Loving God by having less

Loving God by having less

“For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.” (Col 1:19-20)

The story of Lent and the need for creation care are intricately intertwined. When God first created the world, He entrusted Adam and Eve with the stewardship of creation and to rule over the multitudes (Gen 2:15). Just as they were created in God’s image, they were to rule as our King rules over all: justly, joyfully, compassionately and, most importantly, lovingly.

However, with the Fall came the breaking of our relationships both with God and the rest of creation. Our stewardship over creation has become a dictatorship. Humans have significantly damaged God’s earth, abandoning His will for us to care for it. And what is sin, if not going against God’s will?

Yet, just as we praise Jesus for His sacrifice that cleansed our sins and restored our relationship with God, so too should we praise Him for reconciling to Himself all things on earth and in heaven (Col 1:20). As we remember Jesus’ sacrifice this Lent, we remember His sacrifice for the whole of creation. When we start to right our relationship with the rest of God’s creation, we are advancing Jesus’ ministry of reconciliation.

Jesus started that work on the cross through a sacrifice—are we willing to make those sacrifices for His ministry too? Being a responsible steward of God’s resources requires us to give up many things that we are accustomed to. For instance, John Wesley tells us in his sermon on the use of money that we are to “save all we can” and reject indulgent lifestyles. Caring for creation also involves consuming less—food, clothing, materials—to reduce our impact on the environment. By doing so, we minimise the clutter in our lives distracting us from God, and we can also give more to God’s ministry.

Believe me when I say that I don’t find it easy to make these choices. Every day, I struggle with giving up the little conveniences—washing one less cup by using disposables, enjoying the car instead of public transport, not having to look silly balancing my groceries in my hands when I forget my reusable bag. But at those moments, I remember that when the devil offered Jesus a shortcut to the kingdoms of the world, He didn’t take it (Matt 4:8–10). The Christian life is not straightforward. The road to Calvary was certainly not convenient.

And I think we can all rejoice that Jesus did not take the easy road. Instead, He made the ultimate sacrifice for the world that He loves. When we make these sacrifices in our lives to restore our relationship with the rest of creation, let us remember who we do it for: our loving Creator.

Dennis Tan firmly believes that the Church can do more to care for creation. He one of the founders of Creation Care SG, an initiative that aims to equip fellow believers to care for creation by transforming their lives and churches. He worships at Sengkang MC.