If I have ever pretended, even to myself, that somehow my desire for an increasingly blameless ecological ethos was separate from my journey in Jesus Christ, I must beg forgiveness and grace from God, myself, and those who witnessed such folly.
We should always be careful not to peg one thing or another as being ‘Christian.’ That’s a great way to build up insidious heresies of the worst sort and cut limbs and organs from the body of Christ.
Last week I came across a blatant misuse of the term sustainable by a GMO seed company on a very popular eco-living blog.
I have known this to be an ongoing issue, so I have decided to swap sustainability with sufficiency.
With the former being a huge, problematic buzz word and given to much misuse, I also find in the latter an inherent call to remember my religious and spiritual convictions both on how I affect the planet as a human creature and how I cultivate my soul to bear fruit in Christ’s Kingdom.
Sufficient and sufficiency are used a couple times in many English translations of St. Paul’s second letter to the Corinthian church. These are cringe worthy words to me, because while I still am unlearning to hear them used in prosperity gospel context, I cringe because there is no escaping Jesus’s and Paul’s teaching to fully rely on God.
Ha. I actually used to wear a wristband that said “F.R.O.G. Fully Rely On God.” Yikes.
Anyways, the truth of it remains eternal.
Now, I’m a typical, barrier crashing, rebellious American who loves innovation and progress. I am not against technology, etc.
So, with scientific ethics and other considerations, I think we need to look at sufficiency in two ways, both which honor the Biblical use especially regarding our souls, but also will help guide us into whether we are being good creatures on this planet.
If I am about to do, or use, or take, or purchase, consume, etc., something, I should ask two questions:
1. Will this increase or decrease my ability to walk in God’s sufficiency?
2. Will this increase or decrease the sufficiency of the earth?
I am hypothesizing that these questions will balance out much decision making that goes awry. You see, St. Paul’s teachings and Jesus’s examples, show us that what Christ is to us humans, we in turn are to the rest of the earth.
If we do not sacrifice ourselves to some extent, if we do not give the grace we have received, the sufficiency we have been gifted by God, in a real, earthy way, as He did for us by sending his only begotten son, then we have failed the very purpose for which we were created and redeemed.
A important note about sufficiency in God as well as in Nature is that it shouldn’t include our striving for it.
I know that sounds really weird. We are a culture that has do-gooders stressing themselves out striving for their perfect sustainability dreams. I know. I have seen it happen to others and to myself.
And I’m not speaking against short time periods of stress and doing buoyed by adrenaline, like any creature might be given to, but instead for the prolonged periods of ambition and pride.
In light of these things, I want to share the Bible verses that will cause many of us to go, “HOW?” I am humbly offering a ‘how’ of sorts above, but really there’s nothing for it but to heed St. Paul’s words.
C.S. Lewis wrote that if we seek earth, we will get nothing. But if we seek heaven, we will get earth thrown in.
These are harsh words, but I believe them to have much truth. I know agnostics who busy themselves creating heaven on earth, and in some way, I think they may find some spiritual treasures they might not even realize this side of the veil. I know far more Christians, though, who so seek heaven that they sell the earth out to hell for a pittance, and I wonder truly what sort of heaven they are really seeking.
I just know that seeking sustainability for myself, ahem, sufficiency, NEVER works for me, unless I seek God first and then natural (Nature’s gifts by His design) sufficiency second.
“My grace is sufficient for you, my power is made perfect in weakness.” -God’s words to St. Paul as recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:8.
However, I can’t fully rest in His sufficiency, unless I know I am creating a sufficiency and healing grace around me out of that same sufficiency He has bestowed upon me.
As various doors have closed to me recently, I can either choose to strive or to act out of God’s sufficiency. I have no doubt this will include breaking cultural norms and nailing much adult pretense and posturing and pride to the cross.
His power is made perfect in my weakness.
And I am very weak.