How Hard It Is Luke 18:21-29
Praying over the city at Bruegger’s Bagels (800 Grand Ave, Saint Paul, MN).
December 4, 2018
I saw this meme on a friend’s Facebook page yesterday and immediately I was taken aback. My thought, “All that waste.” Not of water or even money, which, honestly, is also a “thing”, but those darn bottles. What an environmental nightmare. What was equally as frightening was how many people were commenting on it in agreement.
I hate myself for it. It makes me feel like an old, biased person, seemingly judging people for routinely buying water and creating this waste. Maybe “judging” is too strong a word. I am not mad that they are doing this. I don’t think it’s wrong, but I am concerned about this trend and I do think we should consider it. I paused for a second on my Facebook wall, debating it I should even say anything, then I decided to ask, “Do you buy bottled water for your kids?”
Two of my friends responded, “Yes.” They gave good reasons and I get it. One lives in an area that won a lawsuit against a major manufacturer for dumping. Their tap water isn’t safe and honestly, I don’t know if really any of the water we get from the tap is “good”. Both said they recycled which is helpful, I think, because recycling also causes a drain on our environment. Just watch this video to learn more: https://www.facebook.com/buzzfeedfyi/videos/469025140291728/
I asked if they ever considered gallon jugs or the five-gallon dispensers. I have yet to have a response and honestly, I don’t know if those measures matter either. I am no environmental guru. I just know I am very concerned for our planet and all the people on it.
As it relates to water, I have a few different water bottles I refill from a filter container I have in the fridge. Serious. This is how weird I’ve gotten about this “waste”. For me, it’s more than just the bottles, but also the expense. Over the years, I’ve begun to realize how much money I waste, and again, I’m going to sound like that “old, biased person”, but Ben Franklin more than 200 years ago got it right, “A penny saved is a penny earned.”
BUT I am a huge hypocrite here. I waste a TON too. Nearly every day, I go out and buy coffee in a paper cup. Right now, at this moment, I have three of these disposable cups with a plastic lid sitting in my car and that’s just for the last few days. I justify this “waste” because it gives me access to a venue where I can write, but it is also very unnecessary. Completely. I could be at home, with a mug I rinse out, saving five dollars, and typing away in the comfort of my own home. I could, and some days I do, yet an equal number of days, I spend the money and create the waste to sit here pecking away. Just like these water bottles, it is the same “waste”.
We are so very lucky, or might I dare say, spoiled, in this country that we don’t even realize the excess of our lives. Most of the people on this planet don’t even have daily access to clean drinking water. This means that they most certainly do not have a table full of half-empty plastic bottles on their table or the financial means to consider even buying it. The idea of going out for coffee daily would be completely foreign. Yes, we are spoiled, and I am so personally torn about what is the “right” thing to do about it.
In Luke 18:21-29, a man asked Jesus what he must do to inherit eternal life. Jesus responds with the five commandments that relate to how we treat others. The man replies, “I’ve done those things since I was a boy.” Jesus says, “There is one thing you have not done. Sell all you have and give it to the poor.” The man refuses. Jesus then says, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the Kingdom.” All of this is paraphrased so I encourage you to read the full text.
Riches aren’t just money. Certainly, that’s part of it, but “riches” are a warm bed, clean clothes, fresh water, as well as safety and security. Riches need not be something opulent. To those without, riches are the basic things we Americans may take for granted, and the thing I grapple with as I consider Jesus’ words, am I committed enough to give what I have to the poor?
Today, the one thing I decided to do was buy travel mugs for my car so that I can at least quit wasting all those disposable ones. Baby steps…
Dearest Heavenly Father, to whom much is given, much is required. The comfort of all these blessings are undeniable. It is so hard to give it all up—to even consider it. Please help me to have a Generous Spirit. Please open my eyes to the need around me and I also ask that we be aware of how we can reduce the waste. All we have is yours. You are the Great Giver. In Your Mighty & Holy Name…