Book Review: Serve God, Save the Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth

Serve God, Save the Planet by J. Matthew Sleeth.  If I had known the content of this book, I might not have read it.  I wouldn’t be characterized as a “tree hugger.”  Yet, I also am not the kind of person that wastes things, normally.  I try to be a good steward of the resources God brings into my life.  Surprisingly, Matthew Sleeth’s approach created a thirst to understand a different approach to stewarding God’s creation.

Several points caught my attention and put me at ease. First, I realized that we Americans are wasteful beyond description.  We fill up so many trash cans of garbage, that would probably be homes, food and clothing to many in the third world.  Some of my American amigos might think they deserve it.  If I was equipped to compost, reuse and distribute to those who could use my garbage, I might save an incredible amount of earth resources and dollars in terms of man hours needed to haul and bury my garbage. 

Secondly, many Americans think they need every electronic gadget to entertain themselves 24/7.  I’m not against the use of electricity, but we’re probably not getting enough facetime  as much as facebook time.  to others in godly fellowship and the resources needed to produce the electricity may just be poor stewardship of the Lord’s provision.  Am I concerned about running out of resources?  No.  We will likely figure out another resource, but am I using up resources for me or for the sake of reaching others for the sake of the gospel?

Thirdly, all our stuff ultimately can control us.  We amigos don’t have enough room in our three car garages, so we rent monthly space just to store more stuff!  After a year’s worth of storage, that stuff loses a tremendous amount of value due to storage costs (it may still be worth x amount, but I’ve spent  y amount storing it that I could have used to foster relationships for the kingdom of God.  Then I think about all the time it takes to clean, wash, wax, polish, paint, wash, organize, shelf, dust and organize, I can see I have a whole lot less time to reach my neighbors for the gospel.  Is it just so we feel good that we have this stuff?

Fourthly, all our stuff is likely allowing individuals in families to be – individual.  We don’t need to interact, because we each have all our own stuff to do what we want.  How does that foster a multi-generational blessing?

Fifthly, we have so much stuff we don’t have time to take a day of rest and worship the Lord or just enjoy each other.  Watching television allows someone else to tell me what reality is rather than exploring the world around me and finding out what God has wonderfully made available within a day’s walk.  Television becomes mental junk food and that often leads to wasting time in front of computer screens consuming our mental energy instead of spurring our spirit to an intimate relationship with the Lord.  These and many other challenging thoughts are making me rethink my modus operandi.

I appreciate the challenge of this book.  It’s one in which in the next few months I will read again and see if my brain mass should have different brain ruts than what currently exist.  I’m slightly aware that I may have been a little too self-centered in my stewardship of God’s creation and foolish in my liberty.  May God have mercy on us all!

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