God has a lot to say about our families’ waste. Join AMBrewster as he walks Christian parents through some key passages that will help us be less wasteful in our parenting.
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Listen to the following episodes on Apple Podcasts by clicking the titles.
“Create a Sustainable Home that Glorifies God” (episode 47)
“Sanctified Sustainability, Your Family, and Earth Day” (TLP Snippet #6)
“How God Wants Your Family to Steward the Earth” (episode 151)
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Happy almost Easter, and happy almost Earth Day.
Now, if you’re new to the show, you may have found that greeting to be like a dinner of fillet mignon and hot dogs.
“He’s celebrating Easter and Earth Day? Is he some kind of weirdo?”
I like to think I’m not, but I do want to explain myself.
But first I want to thank Josh and Heatherly for making today’s episode possible. They used the donate links at TruthLoveParent.com to sacrificially bless us via PayPal.
We could not produce the free parenting resources we do if it were not for wonderful human beings like Josh and Heatherly.
If you’d be interested in learning about how you can partner with us, just click on the “5 Ways to Support TLP" link in the description of this episode.
There are various ways to support TLP that don’t involve money, so you should definitely check it out.
Alright, let’s ask the hard question, how can I justify calling your family to embrace this whole Earth-Day-sustainability-concept.
Is that biblical?
Well, if it’s not biblical, then we shouldn’t be doing it. So let’s find out what God has to say on the subject.
And if you’re some place where you can’t open your Bible or take notes, we have free episode notes linked in the description of this episode.
So, a number of years ago I was reading through the Creation account in Genesis, and I was convicted that Christians are not taking the Creation mandate seriously.
In Genesis 1:28 God says to Adam and Eve, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
Many of our practices are wasteful and destructive. And I believe it’s safe to say that God hates waste . . . but we’ll talk about that more in a minute.
Christians should be more environmentally conscious than any other group on the planet because God’s children were specifically mandated to steward it.
Now, my goal today is to speak specifically to reducing waste in our homes to the glory of God, and I have three points I’d like to make.
But for those of you who haven’t heard my thoughts on what I like to call Sanctified Sustainability, I’d like to encourage you to listen to the following episodes. They’ll all be linked in the description of this episode for ease of access.
The first is episode 47, “Create a Sustainable Home that Glorifies God.” There’s also A TLP Snippet #6, “Sanctified Sustainability, Your Family, and Earth Day.” And you can listen to episode 151, “How God Wants Your Family to Steward the Earth.”
Each of these broadens our understanding of the fact that God hates waste, and each lays a foundation for today’s show. Or you could use them to follow-up today’s study.
So, with the rest of our time I’d like to look at a number of passages that illustrate that God is not pleased when we waste food, resources, or Truth. And I’d like to provide some simple jumping-off-points to get our families moving in the right direction.
So, let’s start with the first:
1. Food Waste
It’s been reported that over 1/3rd of the food produced globally is wasted. It’s either harvested and thrown away or it’s allowed to rot in the fields.
Now, as a gardener, I get it. Even with the few plants I raise, my family and I often can’t consume nor store all the produce that grows.
So, what does God have to say about this?
Let me start with the obvious. In John 6:12 we see an amazing miracle. Jesus has just multiplied five loaves and two fish and fed over 10,000 people. And yet, when it’s all said and done, knowing that He could produce food from nothing on a whim, Jesus still commanded, “And when they had eaten their fill, he told his disciples, ‘Gather up the leftover fragments, that nothing may be lost.’”
God hates waste. Jesus knew He made more than He needed to make. He knew that there would be leftovers, and He commanded the disciples to make provision for that because He didn’t want any of the food wasted.
So, why do our families waste food?
Some of us are just lazy. Proverbs 12:27 reads, “Whoever is slothful will not roast his game, but the diligent man will get precious wealth.”
I absolutely hate when my family purchases food and then use never gets around to eating it. You can ask my wife. That annoys me to no end because generally it happens because the fridge was opened and we either just didn’t “feel” like eating it or we didn’t want to go through the trouble of eating it. And that’s foolish because it’s lazy and wasteful.
And sometimes we waste food because we don’t want to take the extra step to steward the leftovers well. Leviticus 23:22 tells us, “And when you reap the harvest of your land, you shall not reap your field right up to its edge, nor shall you gather the gleanings after your harvest. You shall leave them for the poor and for the sojourner: I am the Lord your God.”
God wants His people to give back to Him, and He wants His people to care for His people. Like the feeding of the five thousand, God deliberately gives us more than we need so that we can give back to Him and provide care for those who don’t have as much.
Now, there are plenty of other reasons why we waste food, and there are lots of other passages to which we could look, but let me to outline a few steps our families can take to not waste food.
1. We need to care. We need to accept the fact that waste is not acceptable to God.
2. We need to do something. And this can be basically anything.
Save your leftovers and make a casserole with them. I like to put our leftover veggies and potatoes and stuff into our scrambled eggs. They’re so delicious!
Give your excess produce away.
Worst case scenario, at least compost your leftover foods and scraps. It will turn into amazing dirt for growing future plants.
Here’s another great idea: invite some needy friends over to have dinner with you. If there happen to be leftovers, send them home with the other family. The Leviticus passage (as well as a number in the book of Ruth) illustrates the fact that God wants His people blessing others. Whether it’s giving away our additional produce, not gleaning the corners of our fields, or making meals for our neighbors, God is glorified when we give a cup of cold water in His name . . . He’ll be glorified when we share our food and avoid waste.
This really is a big deal. I’m sure if you gave careful attention to your homes, you would realize you waste more food than you think you do.
Okay, moving on . . . God hates Food Waste and He hates . . .
2. Resource Waste
This category is going to include both our finances and the items we purchase with that money.
Consider the famous story of the Prodigal Son — Luke 15:13, “Not many days later, the younger son gathered all he had and took a journey into a far country, and there he squandered his property in reckless living.”
He took his entire inheritance and wasted it all on a lifestyle of self-idolatry.
Now, please understand, this boy didn’t waste his money because he lost his money when it was all said and done. No, he wasted it on himself. It would have been a waste whether he lost his money or doubled it through investing.
Consider Luke 12:16-21, “The land of a rich man produced plentifully, 17 and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, ‘I will do this: I will tear down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’’ 20 But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you, and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is the one who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.”
You see? It didn’t matter if the Prodigal son wasted his money and ended with nothing or this rich man died with money in the bank . . . they both wasted their money because they weren’t rich toward God. They wasted their money on self.
The same idea is communicated about Sodom in Ezekiel 16:49, “Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy.”
They spent all of their money on themselves, and they didn’t care about those in need.
But here’s the flip side of the coin.
Mark 14:3-5 reads, “And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. There were some who said to themselves indignantly, ‘Why was the ointment wasted like that? For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor.’ And they scolded her.”
Now, John tells us that it was Judas who initiated the complaining. We know how noble he was.
But then Jesus says, “Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. 9 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
Sodom’s problem was that they wasted their substance on themselves instead of caring for others. But here Jesus is saying that Mary’s refusal to sell her ointment and give to the poor was actually a good thing. Why?
The point is simply this . . . it’s all about motivation. Mary likely cared for the poor on many occasions. That was the kind of person she was. And she likely did it because of her love for her God.
And there He was right there, and the best thing she could do with her most precious substance was to give it to Him.
The Prodigal wasted his money on himself. The rich man wasted his money on himself. The Sodomites wasted their money on themselves. But Mary invested her money in God’s will.
Recently we did our spring cleaning and we had to purge the kids’ rooms yet once more, and I was convicted.
We pulled so many toys and materials and stuff from their rooms with which they never played. There were clothes and shoes and brick-a-brack just sitting there taking up space in their rooms.
Their rooms were cluttered and suffocating and — if I’m being honest — all the stuff was just sitting there being wasted on our kids.
So, we emptied the rooms, downsized their stuff, and reevaluated the purpose of our possessions.
I don’t have time to go into right now, but I’ll tell you we didn’t throw stuff away. We gave most of it away. Many people benefitted from the toys and clothes and stuff.
And both of my kids were so relieved to have clear purpose for their belongings.
And, just so you don’t think we’re hypocritical parents . . . my wife and I try to live with that mentality. It’s not easy, but we’re regularly evaluating our belongings to determine if we really need it in order to glorify God. We don’t want to waste space.
In fact, my wife and I rarely buy each other gifts. Now, I’m not saying that as guide for you to follow . . . that’s just us. When we spend our money, we want it to be valuable, practical, and lasting.
I just say all of this to point out that we definitely practice what we preach. And I believe we all have the responsibility to evaluate our lives to determine if our possessions and monies can be put to better use.
And lastly . . .
3. Truth Waste
Proverbs 4:2 says, “For I give you good precepts; do not forsake my teaching.”
To forsake, ignore, forget, or refuse God’s teaching is a waste of Truth.
People who do such things are scoffers. They’re fools. They’re the kind of people on whom God warns others to not waste their pearls.
One of our deepest desires for TLP is that we faithfully present God’s Truth in love. And we diligently pray that we all submit to God’s Word for our own sakes and the sakes of our families.
Our children need this too. How much of what we say to them is wasted because they’re simply not listening or they don’t really care to grow?
When we teach our children about Sanctified Sustainability, I believe that Truth Waste needs to be one of the first things we hit.
It won’t matter that God hates waste if we don’t care about what He has to say.
Not only that, but the consequences for wasting Truth are far more dire than the consequences of wasting food. Consider Proverbs 1:24-33 where Wisdom lays out the cost of wasting her, “Because I have called and you refused to listen, have stretched out my hand and no one has heeded, 25 because you have ignored all my counsel and would have none of my reproof, 26 I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when terror strikes you, 27 when terror strikes you like a storm and your calamity comes like a whirlwind, when distress and anguish come upon you. 28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me. 29 Because they hated knowledge and did not choose the fear of the Lord, 30 would have none of my counsel and despised all my reproof, 31 therefore they shall eat the fruit of their way, and have their fill of their own devices. 32 For the simple are killed by their turning away, and the complacency of fools destroys them; 33 but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.’”
And one fo the scariest passages in Scripture is found in Romans 1:18, “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” Then three more times in the passage, in verses 24, 26, and 28, God says that He gives up people like this.
For us to waste the Truth so much that God gives us up is a petrifying thing. May we teach our children the value of redeeming all that God has given to us.
And I want to end with Ephesians 5:19 today. It’s not specifically about wasting food, resources, or Truth, but it perfectly encapsulates God’s views on waste, “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.”
God only gives us so much time with our kids. Are we making the best use of it?
Earth Day or Stewardship Day or whatever you want to call it is a wonderful time to draw our children’s minds back to these vital Truths.
Please share this episode with your friends, and join us next time as we discuss what your children’s toys are teaching them.
And don’t forget to donate! We are a listener-supported ministry. Even the smallest contributions play a part in enabling us to create this content.
Because we all need Truth, we all need genuine love, and we all need to be reminded how central God must be in our parenting.
So, to that end, I’ll see you next time.
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