Words with Shawn Naylor

One of my favourite ways to recharge when I am out speaking for long periods of time is to go into the woods and walk alongside a river. If I have a fishing rod in my hands it makes this recharge that much more enjoyable. I love looking at God’s artwork and listening to the music that He orchestrated before time even existed. I am repeatedly struck by the fine detail created by God’s paint brush, and from that wonder I am recharged. 

On one such occasion I was walking deep in the woods, without any connection to the outside world. I was taking in all that God had made in my immediate surroundings. I had been walking for at least an hour since the last time that I had seen anything that resembled civilization. Despite being so far away from human life, I frequently saw garbage. I remember thinking to myself, “Really, garbage out here? Really?” 

This led me to a question: What is our responsibility as a Christians for the earth and the environment? I turned to this short verse in the second chapter of Genesis. My suspicion is that many of us read over this verse without much thinking because of the subject that follows, the tree of knowledge of good and evil. 

Yet, look at the first thing that God told Adam to do. “The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to work it and keep it” (Genesis 2:15). Adam was the first gardener, and what a heck of garden he had! He was told to keep that garden. He was not to let the garden get out of control, and his daily actions would make way for more sustained life. 

“What are we doing to be responsible and cultivating of the earth?”

Now, I’m not saying we all need to become actual gardeners. What I’m challenging us with is this: In our leadership what can we do with our actions so we can work and keep the earth? As leaders, we often talk about being responsible and cultivating the gifts we have been given. So, what are we doing to be responsible and cultivating of the earth?

Metaphorically and physically Christians were not meant be producers of garbage but bringers of hope and life. So how do you manage that? 

Here are a couple of simple adjustments you can implement in your church ministry:

  • Ensure wasted food gets composted 
  • Buy less packaged products
  • Choose reusable serving dishes and mugs

Since my family and I started composting we’ve seen large reduction to the garbage we produce. Recently I found myself hanging on to apple cores that I could at least place in the bush so that they can decompose. It actually bothers me to put any food in the garbage knowing that, if composted, it could be fuel reused by the earth. I know I am not perfect, but my challenge to you is not to be perfect. My challenge to you is to put in the effort.