There seems to be a certain pride when it comes to green living these days, that it’s so forward-thinking and cool. Remember when newscasters talked about celebrities showing up at the Oscars with the first Priuses? Or the reusable bag craze that now has every company manufacturing their own bags with their logo on it that you can pay a dollar for at checkout? Aren’t these companies forgetting that the idea is supposed to be about reusing bags, not making more? There’s every sort of movement you can think of related to the green lifestyle—the raw food movement, the slow food movement, the urban garden movement…
But aren’t all these “progressive” ideas really regressive? Going back to the roots of how things used to be? After all there weren’t any processed foods, milk hormones or gas powered automobiles in Biblical times. Not knocking the amazing and wonderful advancements that have come over the centuries, but truth be told, people lived “greener” during Biblical times. Here’s how:
Your Guide To Living Green The Biblical-Times Way
Grow or Raise Your Own Food
Listen and hear my voice; pay attention and hear what I say.
When a farmer plows for planting, does he plow continually? Does he keep on breaking up and harrowing the soil?
When he has leveled the surface, does he not sow caraway and scatter cummin? Does he not plant wheat in its place, barley in its plot, and spelt in its field?
His God instructs him
and teaches him the right way.
Caraway is not threshed with a sledge, nor is a cartwheel rolled over cummin; caraway is beaten out with a rod, and cummin with a stick.
Grain must be ground to make bread; so one does not go on threshing it forever.
Though he drives the wheels of his threshing cart over it, his horses do not grind it. – Isaiah 28:23-28 (NIV)
This scripture gives us a picture of the process and care gone into growing and preparing food. Get to know what you’re eating, or how it’s made. Plant vegetables instead of keeping a lawn pristine. Some areas even allow zoning for chickens so you can gather your own eggs. You can also make your own compost or raise worms for your soil. There are many ways you can get back in touch with the land that God created and bring back the care in maintaining it. After all, we can only plant—it is God that does the growing. It’s good to remember what a blessing that is. For tools to get you started gardening or composting, check out the Urban Garden Center at www.urbangardencenter.com
Own Fewer Items of Clothing & Use Them Well
Freely you have received, freely give. Do not take along any gold or silver or copper in your belts; take no bag for the journey, or extra tunic, or sandals or a staff; for the worker is worth his keep. – Matthew 10:8-10 (NIV)
Jesus’s disciples were asked to carry little with them to share with the world what Jesus had taught them. We don’t need a lot of extra either, we just need enough. When it comes to clothing, styles go in and out, so stick with real classics for longevity and look for items that are well made and will last longer. It is said that the French can spend a lot of money on a pair of leather shoes, but wear them for a lifetime. Our wardrobes don’t have to be excessive to be chic. If you want some new-to-you items try a consignment shop or thrift store to mix up your own look or create a new one.
Reuse, Mend, & Fix, Instead of Buying New
And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Immediately they left their nets and followed him. And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him. – Matthew 4:19-22 (NASB)
Many of the disciples mended and fixed items that they used frequently. So much of the time we throw out things that we could easily fix and keep using instead. In many areas we’ve become a wasteful society, tossing something that’s barely used to buy something else that’s new, just because we want to. We encourage you to think twice before throwing out something that you think is irreparable. There may be ways to salvage items and keep them around a little longer. For ideas on how to reuse items or for help fixing them just do a quick internet search for that specific item and I guarantee you’ll come across numerous ideas.
Learn A Craft and Make Something
“I have taken great pains to provide for the temple of the LORD a hundred thousand talents of gold, a million talents of silver, quantities of bronze and iron too great to be weighed, and wood and stone. And you may add to them. You have many workmen: stonecutters, masons and carpenters, as well as men skilled in every kind of work in gold and silver, bronze and iron— craftsmen beyond number. Now begin the work, and the LORD be with you.” – 1 Chronicles 22:14-16 (NIV)
It’s no secret that Jesus was a carpenter, but sadly most of his followers today can only “make” things from IKEA. Try to learn how to make something from scratch instead. It could be learning how to roll fresh pasta, sew a skirt, construct a computer, or make a messenger bag. Make magazine is a great resource, with some wacky, easy and cool ideas to try. Etsy.com is also a wonderful place to buy and sell things that are handmade. You’ll be amazed at what you can create.
Make Use of the Seasons
The LORD will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your forefathers to give you. The LORD will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. The LORD will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the LORD your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. – Deuteronomy 28:11-13 (NIV)
Whether buying seasonal fruit or vegetables or taking advantage of the extra sunlight in the summer evening, life has historically revolved around the seasons and God designed it that way. In our current economy we still expect to have anything we want year-round and can usually get it, if not nearby, it’s online. But what about taking a step back and take in the seasonal changes more. Cook recipes that revolve around what’s in season in your area; they’ll be the freshest and taste the best. The cooking website Epicurious.com has a map that details what’s in season in your area (if you’re in the United States) and the map will also lead you to ingredient descriptions, shopping guides, recipes and tips for that area or ingredient.
And they were on the road, going up to Jerusalem, and Jesus was walking ahead of them. And they were amazed, and those who followed were afraid. And taking the twelve again, he began to tell them what was to happen to him, saying, “See, we are going up to Jerusalem, and the Son of Man will be delivered over to the chief priests and the scribes, and they will condemn him to death and deliver him over to the Gentiles. – Mark 10:32-33 (ESV)
Before it was the ‘thing to do,’ it was a way of life for our biblical ancestors. Ironically, for us to be more progressive we can take a cue from those that came before us, implementing actions that are good for us and our environment.
In the New & Old Testament times, people walked. Today you see fewer walkers in most areas. Perhaps in rural areas, stores and public spaces are more sporadic, but cities boast convenient stores on every corner, and many places you’re likely to run errands are within walking distance. Even if it seems like a long way at first, try walking one day, when time permits, and see how long it takes or how many miles it is. It may not be quite the hike you thought at first. You’ll awaken your senses, encounter people, explore neighborhoods, and experience new smells and sights you may not have otherwise. Besides, it’s good exercise.
Building Community & Sharing
Now he who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will also supply and increase your store of seed and will enlarge the harvest of your righteousness. You will be made rich in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.
This service that you perform is not only supplying the needs of God’s people but is also overflowing in many expressions of thanks to God. Because of the service by which you have proved yourselves, men will praise God for the obedience that accompanies your confession of the gospel of Christ, and for your generosity in sharing with them and with everyone else. And in their prayers for you their hearts will go out to you, because of the surpassing grace God has given you. – 2 Corinthians 9:10-14 (NIV)
Much of the idea of sharing our abundance and blessings have been lost in our individualistic “me” and “my” society. Take advantage of public parks, borrow a cup of milk from a neighbor, share your DVD collection with friends and remember that everything belongs to God in the first place and we’re just stewards of it.
These are just a few of the ways the Bible shows us to live green. Before it was the “thing to do,” it was a way of life for our biblical ancestors. Ironically, for us to be more progressive we can take a cue from those that came before us, implementing actions that are good for us and our environment.