What do the Great Commission and plastics have in common? No, it’s not nothing. It would be really weird to ask the question and then immediately end by saying, “Nothing”. So think again. What is it?
The image gives a clue.
It’s a plastic bottle. Someplace it doesn’t belong. Probably laying on the side of a path or trail. Someone needed a drink, finished off the contents of the bottle, and dropped it.
Something similar happens with the Great Commission. If you don’t know what it is, hang in there, it’s coming. The similarity between plastics and the Great Commission comes in like this. We walk along the paths of our life. Many Christians are aware of the Great Commission. But as we go through life, we just toss it aside, because it’s not a good time, it’s inconvenient, embarrassing, and tons of other reasons.
Just like we have so many reasons for not carrying that bottle to the next trash can or recycling bin.
In both cases, we know we should “do the right thing”. But we don’t.
How do we “fix” the plastics problem?
Here’s a common way to try to fix the problem. Pass laws! For instance, the newest one where I live. It’s from a report by the local ABC channel, titled LA County supervisors approve ordinance banning single-use plastics in food service.
LOS ANGELES (CNS) — The county Board of Supervisors on Tuesday gave final approval Tuesday to an ordinance requiring that all food-service containers, cups, dishes and cutlery distributed by restaurants and food facilities in unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County be recyclable or compostable.
The ordinance, which will be phased in starting in May 2023, will also prohibit retail stores from selling “expanded polystyrene,” or Styrofoam, products such as coolers, packing materials, cups, plates and pool toys, unless they are encased in a “durable material.”
Awesome! Problem solved! No? No!!
All sorts of laws can be passed. But more and more lately, people really don’t care about laws. They rebel against rules, even when the rules are for good reasons and are beneficial to the very people who refuse to follow them. It’s unreal.
The attitude is like, “You can’t make me do anything and I’m willing to suffer to make sure I get to do what I want to do. Even if I have to do the opposite of what I really want to do – just to make sure it’s not what you want me to do.”
Do we just not care?
Maybe we just don’t care. But if asked, how many of us would say we disagree with the statements below.
The ordinance was backed by various environmental groups, who cited the impact of plastics on waste streams locally and globally, and on people’s health in general.
CJ O’Brien with the environmental group Oceana told the board earlier this month that billions of pounds of plastic waste enter the marine environment each year, and the amount is projected to triple by 2040.
She said marine animals “are consuming or becoming entangled” in the plastics, and noted that plastic is also becoming a health issue for the human population.
“Plastic has now been found in our water, food, air and our bodies, and scientists are still (learning) how this may be affecting human health,” she said.
Honestly, how many of us would say we want all that waste, the death of the animals, and ultimately, people’s health put at risk? Very few.
But at the same time, how many of us are willing to do something about it?
Why don’t we do something about the plastics?
Why don’t we do something about the plastics and other waste? Well, here’s one reason.
But the ordinance was met with opposition from business groups. A representative of the Valley Industry and Commerce Association told the board there was no evidence the ordinance will actually reduce waste, but it will definitively increase costs. According to VICA, the cost of purchasing 100 compostable forks would pay for 1,000 plastic ones.
While we might be in favor of doing the right thing, we put a cost on doing that right thing. We, consciously or not, decide just how much effort or money we’re willing to put into cutting down on waste, saving the lives of affected animals, and improving the health of affected people.
Obviously, the cost is too high. The mountains of trash that continue to grow tell the story quite clearly.
Acknowledging that the ordinance will require extensive changes in business operations, the board earlier this month approved a motion by Supervisors Janice Hahn and Hilda Solis calling for the county to begin a year-long outreach and education campaign leading up to the implementation of the law. Under that campaign, county officials will educate business owners about the requirements and also compile a list of businesses that supply compostable/recyclable materials, while also monitoring supply chain issues that could impact the availability of the materials.
Yes, some people will need to be educated. But hey. I dare say there are more than enough of us who know better to have a huge impact. But we don’t have hardly any impact because we just don’t do the things we know need to be done.
What do the Great Commission and plastics have in common?
So, What do the Great Commission and plastics have in common? Let’s go through the same issues, and see what we find.
How do we “fix” the Great Commission problem?
I guess there could be more sermons on the Great Commission on more Sunday mornings. After all, doesn’t everyone walk out of the Sunday service with their minds set on becoming a better Christian in all the ways discussed by the Pastor, Priest, Etc.? Uh … We might have that intention. But I dare say, for the most part, we don’t actually do it.
Do we just not care?
Is the problem that we don’t care about what Jesus said? Or maybe, that we don’t know what Jesus said? I guess this is a good time to include the Great Commission.
Mt 28:16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
Since my goal here is to talk about the Great Commission rather than to get into it, please check out The Great Omission from The Great Commission to see more on both the Great Commission and the reality that we don’t do it very well anymore.
Since the Great Commission is where Jesus told us to tell others about Him, a question arises. Do we really care so little for other people that we won’t do the Great Commission? Do we want others to go to Hell? Sadly, in some cases, the answer’s probably yes. But what about the people we do care about? Why don’t we tell them?
Why don’t we do something about the Great Commission?
Education shouldn’t be a problem with Christians and the Great Commission. But, it is. Many Christians don’t even know what it is. And that’s especially sad.
I know, lots of Christians only read portions of the Bible. And some only read the stuff printed in red – Jesus’ words. But maybe you noticed? The words of the Great Commission are in red! So why don’t we know about it?
And even if we do know the words, there’s the cost issue. I spoke to my immediate family member about Jesus. My mother already was Catholic. My father told me that he nor my mother needs God, because they have him. In other words, my father was all the god anyone needed. My sister told me it was nice that I had something to make me feel comfort, but she didn’t need it. Oh – I never did talk to my brother. He’s much too busy to be “##$@#&*” bothered by anyone about anything.
So yes, there’s a cost. But look at the cost of not talking to them. It turns out none of them wanted to hear. And they’ll get what they want in the end. Please see Does God always give us what we want? That depends. But what if they did listen?
Conclusion – What do the Great Commission and plastics have in common?
The Great Commission and all that plastic waste have a lot in common. These two things are on totally opposite ends of a spectrum. One is a command from God. The other is destroying God’s creation.
But we treat both of them with contempt. No matter how many laws are passed, we will not obey them. Even if plastic is eliminated from the world, we will trash God’s creation with something else. It seems to be like one of the GEICO commercials says, to borrow a theme.
We treat things with contempt. When you’re human, that’s what you do.
And just like we won’t take care of the planet God gave to us, we won’t obey the Great Commission God gave to us. When we’re human, that’s what most of us do. Treat God with contempt.
But – it doesn’t have to be that way.
This series, rule over the earth, goes into topics like this one where we look at how God wants us to treat the planet He gave us to take care of.
And over on God Versus Religion, you can see the differences between what we’ve turned God’s plan for us to live a good life into religions created by man for man.
We can do better. We can be better.
But we must decide:
Do we want to follow the god of destroying everything because of our contempt for it?
Or do we want to love each other and live the life God intended for us?
Choose carefully, The decision isn’t just for now. It’s one that lasts for eternity.
Image by flockine from Pixabay