What happens when we neglect the environment

I recently watched a short film on our relationship with our environment called Our Father’s World created by Northland Church in Florida and representing various evangelical leaders from across the U.S. Environmental issues are very significant in every community where Food for the Hungry (FH) works, so I was especially interested.

As I was watching, I had a surge of pride to be associated with the people who were interviewed. They spoke about some things that are difficult for Americans, especially evangelical Americans, to hear (I can’t speak for the viewpoints of the rest of the world).

They called us to engage in something Christians are calling Creation Care.

Guatemalan man growing chiles

A man growing chilies in the Ixil region of Guatemalan where FH serves.

Why is this such a big deal?

Have you ever heard the phrase, “The world is not my home, I am just passing through?”  This is an idea that whole generations of Christians have embraced—and for some good reasons. It’s common for one who follows Jesus to feel like a stranger or alien in our world. But the aspect of the world we are alienated from is the world that is out of step with its Creator. Before any of this alienation happened, God created a world that He said was “good.” This has not changed.

As Christians, we are called to steward God’s creation.

Here’s something else I really appreciated about the film—and another reason why I think it has been easy for Christians in more affluent societies to ignore Creation Care. The film showed how environmental degradation harms the most vulnerable people in our world.The poor around the world live “close to the earth.” Many are farmers, their homes are meager, and natural elements are so, so close to daily life. A drought that leads to crop failure means that the amount of household income needed to buy food can consume or outpace 100 percent of a family’s resources.

Cow Carcass in Kenya Drought

Livestock is the primary means of income for many families in northern Kenya. This carcass is from a cow that died before it could reach water during a drought in 2009.

Temperatures where I live in Phoenix, Ariz., recently reached 119 degrees. Yes, it’s annoying and even can be dangerous. But, we have learned to control this environment and make it livable with our plentiful resources. The poor around the world have no such luxury.

So, there are fundamental reasons for Christians to care about the environment—and these reasons are based in Scripture: 1) This is God’s World and we are stewards. 2) When the environment is abused, the negative effects invariably affect the most vulnerable around the world. God calls us always to have the needs of the most vulnerable in view.

Right now in Haiti there is a food crisis. Why? The seasonal rain didn’t come on time. FH is working in Haiti to help the most vulnerable survive this crisis. In addition to giving out food to children under age 2 and any child showing signs of malnourishment, FH is helping families earn extra income so they can buy food.

Most of these families were counting on eating food they grew themselves. Do you see how close to the earth they live? Not only do they live close to the earth, they live close to the edge.

When we think about whether our actions could potentially harm the environment, we need to not only think about our cities or towns, but also have people in another part of the world who grow their own food in mind.

So, carve out about 30 minutes in the next few days and watch Our Father’s World. What do you think about the message of this film? And consider helping the poor around the world who are vulnerable to floods, droughts, hurricanes and more by giving to the great work of FH’s Emergency Response Unit.

Until all is made new.

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God…And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Revelation 21:3,5

About Eileen O'Gorman

Sometimes I think I am incessant middle child. I find myself in the middle of things a lot. Right now, in particular with my work in communication for Food for the Hungry, I find myself in the middle—maybe a bridge builder—between “worlds.” However, what seems like many worlds all occupying one planet, is actually one grand world that God created. I just can’t get a handle on that! Mostly I hope that my work helps bring reconciliation in this world and that, by grace, we can see good things happening – on earth as it is in heaven.

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