By now the refuse collections and a visit to the tip have cleared the remnants of Christmas! We moaned at the voluminous packaging, food the children didn’t eat and the bin that was too small for the rubbish! There’s even a gadget available to squash it down. It would be far better if we did not produce so much waste.
The Bible teaches the principle of responsible use of resources. This principle relates to much more than packaging and bin filling. We only have so much time to live and we only have a certain number of opportunities in life.
We all know these are serious points but how we waste time and miss opportunities. We could, for example, read a book, go for a walk, learn at college, but instead, we spend precious hours with the TV. Has this New Year started with a wise use of your limited resources of time and opportunity? Some opportunities do come round again like the recycling of certain waste. Some opportunities never come back and disappear into the land fill of ‘What If’.
The Bible tells us that God is grieved at waste of life. This includes murder and cruel oppression of vulnerable lives. This also includes the waste of life in the sense of missing the things that really count and wasting golden opportunities. Ultimately life is wasted when we live it without faith in or reference to God. An ancient king, Solomon had wealth, knowledge, power and pleasure. Yet even he concluded that life in this world without faith in God is meaningless. “Meaningless! Meaningless!” says the Teacher. “Everything is meaningless!”
There is cruel oppression in our world that goes on despite real efforts to make a difference. Without faith in God who will bring ultimate justice, it is an utter hopeless waste. Riches and wealth are hard to gain and easily lost. We cannot guarantee we’ll have health to enjoy them! We can’t take them with us when we die! People wear themselves out to have modern comforts and luxuries and can still find that they have missed what really brings meaningful life. Whether we have little or luxury, life without relationship with God, as Solomon taught, is ultimately wasteful.
Some waste can be composted and I’m a keen composter! It’s great to see waste fruit and vegetables transformed into a useful and nourishing substance for the garden. If we’re feeling that lack of meaning as 2008 has got under way, there is a great opportunity. We can’t compost our lives! But we can have our lives transformed and discover the missing peace and purpose. Jesus came to give His life so that through faith in Him we can have life to the full. That’s real hope for what lies beyond this life and a relationship with God here and now which gives meaning and a purpose. That’s not a promise of an easier life, but it is a promise of a life that will not be wasted.
Carl Meachem – January 2008