These 15-minute formation posts are simple ways you can put the month’s discipline into practice in your life. Since stewardship is so broad, I’ve got a few options and ideas you can choose from.
• Get One, Give One: We’ve got lots of stuff . . . often much more than we need. In the spirit of simplicity and stewardship, seek to break the accumulation cycle. Before holidays (and yes, this period counts as “before Christmas”) and birthdays, gather with your kids (or just do this yourself) to determine what you do not need. Select items of clothing, toys, or household goods that are in decent shape and choose a good organization you can donate them to who will put them to good use. Rather than just the local thrift store, consider donating to a crisis pregnancy center or a local shelter. (For example, in Indianapolis where I live, Wheeler Mission runs a unique thrift store — whatever they don’t use with clients is sold in this store. Low-income folks are able to buy affordable goods, and all funds go to Wheeler mission.)
• Fast with Focus: As a way to be a good steward of your financial resources, consider this way to practice generosity. Select something to fast from, such as a month without vanilla lattes, skipping lunch on Wednesdays for a few weeks, or replacing Friday pizza with ramen noodles for a night. Determine the amount of $ you’d normally spend on that item or meal, and then choose instead to give that money for God’s kingdom purposes, such as through supporting a missionary, donating to a local homeless shelter, extra giving to your church, or giving to a Christian organization that fights global poverty.
• Care for Creation: Whether you’re red or blue, left of right, Republican or Democrat, if you’re a Christian it ought to be only natural to care for God’s creation — our amazing planet. In gratitude to him for the beauty of our world and the resources he’s given us to be stewards of, we can each do our part to care for planet earth, God’s work of art.
A few simple ideas:
1. Recycle! We took a hiatus from recycling but have been back at it again for the past 6 months or so. It is stunning how much we’ve recycled that would have simple gone into a landfill. We had no idea how much trash we were tossing out until we started recycling a portion of it! This simple, practical choice can be a spiritual act of worship and obedience! (Indy folks, check out KIBI for free recycling sites.)
2. Visit a farmers market. I realize this is the end of farmers market season, so you may need to do this next year. But shopping from local family farms is healthy for your family, good for the local economy, and is actually a powerful way to help the environment. Most produce at grocery stores has been shipped from far away — with tons of pollution and fuel used to get it to you. If you can increase whatever your normal amount of shopping at a farmers market is — for example, going from 2 times a summer to 4 — you can contribute positively to environmental health . . . and enjoy yummy food in the process!
3. Learn more. I mentioned politics earlier because I think political issues often cause inertia among Christians when it comes to the environment. Don’t let politics, stereotypes, or mean-spirited comments from the right or left hold you back from honoring God in this area! I urge you to check out great Christian organizations and resources to learn more. Here are a few places to start:
Evangelical Environmental Network (Yes, there ARE evangelicals who are environmentalists, including me! Learn more about why creation care is so important by checking out this site and their Creation Care magazine.)