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Does God Care if You Recycle?

Does God Care if You Recycle?

Why Good Stewardship of the Earth Should Matter to Christians 

Naomi Pepper 

You’re holding an empty soda can. The recycling bin is a bit further away than the trash can. Would it really be so wrong to throw your soda can in the trash? You know using the recycling bin is better for the environment, but won’t Jesus come sooner if the world deteriorates faster? Cosmically, does this decision really matter? Let’s back up a few steps (quite a few steps) to the very beginning of time. 

: The kind of can that you should definitely, definitely, definitely recycle.

Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” We debuted a little later. God spent five days building us a home, and one day building us. Though we were the crowning glory of creation, God’s deliberation was mostly spent on our surroundings. Humanity is incomplete without the created world around her. Hurting our home means disrupting the harmony that God created between nature and humanity.  

Christians talk a lot about stewardship when it comes to the environment. Stewardship as a word simply means “the job of supervising or taking care of something, such as an organization or property.” [1] I think that the word “stewardship” gets thrown around enough that it feels meaningless, but the idea that a God who created the universe (and could easily maintain it without our help) has entrusted us with the maintenance of our own world is very powerful. It’s a principle of wanting to work in communion with us—like your dad giving you a job in the kitchen when you were a little kid. 

If I were to scrap this entire article, no one would bat an eye. But if I were to find my way into another writer’s files and delete their writing, there would be trouble. We’re allowed to do what we want with our own possessions, but there’s an expectation that we treat others’ possessions with respect. Treating the world well means acknowledging that it isn’t really ours and letting go of our sense of entitlement. Even without the prospect of a Creator, it means acknowledging that the world is not meant for us alone, but for our neighbors and future generations. 

What we call the “signs of the times” are things we can look for to tell us that Jesus’ second coming is approaching. A lot of these have to do with the physical deterioration of the earth (natural disasters, etc.). However, the Bible is clear about what will actually bring about the end. Matthew 24:14 says, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.” We’re supposed to be spreading the word to our dying world, not letting it die more and more. Creating worse living conditions will not bring Jesus down to us; it will only make our time left here more miserable. 

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In the end, the answer is yes—God cares if we recycle because we know better. If we didn’t have any information available to us, the story might be different, but we know the impact we have on the earth. So, walk a little further with that soda can, or even do something more. It is up to us to take care of the earth. God asked us to, and that’s enough. 


[1] Stewardship. Oxford Learner’s Dictionary 

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