Stryrofoam Sins

I'm not sure how much styrofoam I've used in my lifetime. To tell the truth I don't want to know because I'm sure I would be thoroughly embarrassed and ashamed. I suppose it was the recent horrendous oil spill in the Gulf that triggered an acute sense of concern for the world that God intended for me to take care of.

That's why styrofoam has grown sharp fangs and bad breath and demands that I remove its ugly puss from my sight. Recently I discovered a treasure-trove of new china stashed away under the staircase that leads to the fire exit in our church. Apparently no one has used the dishes because no one wants to wash them. Instead we help to flood the landfills with styrofoam cups and plates that won't biodegrade in our lifetime—perhaps not even in the lifetime of our children.

This morning I was reading part of the story of Hezekiah from 2 Kings. After the king had been granted fifteen extra years of life (that turned out to be a REALLY bad idea), Hezekiah showed off all the treasures of Jerusalem to representatives of his worst enemy, the King of Babylon. That wasn't too bright an idea either. The prophet Isaiah appearsed to tell Hezekiah that God was going to give Babylon all the riches he had just so casually inventoried in public. Hezekiah was also told that his people would be taken away as slaves and the land would be devastated. To this news the king replied: "'The word of the Lord you have spoken is good,' Hezekiah replied, For he thought, 'Will there not be peace and security in my lifetime?'" (2 Kings 20:19, NIV).

Like interpreting the tone of an email, it is difficult to know just what Hezekiah was saying here. He kicked up a big fuss when he thought he was going to die. But he doesn't kick up any fuss when he learns that the nation is going to die. His reaction leads me to believe that all he cared about was his own comfort. What future generations had to pay for his foolishness wasn't of deep concern.

That made me think of styrofoam. It's convenient not to have to wash dishes. But someone is going to have to pay for my polluting of the planet for the sake of convenience. But beyond the callousness displayed by: "Not my problem as long as everything is cool for me" is the reminder that God put man (me and you) in charge of looking after his creation. He told us to "rule" over it (Genesis 1:28) and typical of our tendency to abuse our authority and to hear only what we choose, we heard him give us permission to "ruin" it when it is inconvenient or uncomfortable for us to do otherwise.

It would be easy for me to say that my little bit doesn't do any harm. That's what Hezekiah thought about asking for fifteen extra years and showing his riches to his mortal enemies. The price was a whole lot higher than he thought it would be.

There is a vacancy as the Kitchen Coordinator at our church. That person is responsible for making sure that all the supplies are available for all the eating events. Maybe I need to volunteer to fill that gap—even if it means never buying stryrofoam for any church function and washing all the dishes after every event. At the very least I can make some noise and perhaps someone will listen.

It's not convenient, but caring trumps convenience every time.


  1. Oooh - this makes me think! Great lesson for all of us. It's so much easier to think about our own benefit than to look forward to the future. Thanks for the reminder, dear Lynda.

  2. Lynda,
    I assure you that you wouldn't want to see the state of God's creation here in DRC. I look at the mess and say, "does no one care?". What if all the Christians would stand up and say, "enough!" and commit to not deliberately destroy the gift of this earth any more.

  3. "It's not convenient, but caring trumps convenience every time."

    I will remember this often and make some changes!


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