“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” James 2:18
I write to bring into focus some events that are around us, right now. As I write it forces me to reflect on my own choices and views. I am not taking a cheap shot at any one person or viewpoint. For those of us who would claim to be in the “family of Christ” do we consider what is happening? What will you do once you know more? Ignorance is bliss, so they say. But if you choose to remain ignorant of the issues, then how will you be salt and light to those who desperately need to see a Christian who “works through their faith with fear and trembling”?
If you have followed me at all, you will come to see I view things from a food and farming perspective. It is a humbling profession because you learn that you have little control over the things that greatly affect your job, family, and career. Farmers, and those who supply them, interact with an entire ecosystem that is increasingly being shown to be powerful, awesome and yet finely balanced to the point that what is done hundreds of miles away can have a very powerful, and sometimes negative, impact on others…. especially when the ecosystem can’t buffer the problem due to overuse.
So, it is with this view, that I ask myself and fellow believers in Christ, “show me your deeds”.
Considering our impact on God’s Creation, what are you doing to demonstrate your stewardship, as the one put above the rest of creation? Do we abdicate our responsibility willingly or without thought? We have a food and farm system that is growing more and more condensed with the need for more and more migrant workers to do field work. Undocumented workers have become a major social issue in some farming communities here in the United States. Everyone is quick to point out the threat to the “homeland” about potential bad people being in these groups. Along with this, how about the fact that these folks are not on the grid as far as safety and health is concerned? I am not saying that farmers who hire such workers are bad people. Yes, if they knowingly do it then they are breaking the law. The undocumented worker harvests a surprising amount of the produce you buy in the grocery store. Do you do your homework to see how these immigration issues can be resolved or do you simply cry, “Ship them all back.” If you do the latter, will you be willing to support a farming system that insists on more domestic labor with you paying a little more for your food?
We see and read more and more about water quality and environmental issues and how they possibly relate to things we do. Do you consider and study these items through? As a follower of Christ do you consider how the society you live in and your own opinions and actions impact these Creation related items?
Typically, Christians tend to look sideways at those who would be called “naturalists” or more deridingly “tree huggers”. Sadly, when it comes to James 2:18 and how Christians are to prove themselves through their actions, we fail when it comes to having and behaving in an informed and stewardly manner when it comes to issues such as food, farming, forestry, waterways, and conservation. If it comes to acting and building awareness about creation, our “naturalist” friends are more creation aware than many Christians today. We will speak out on government issues and cry for freedom, but what about starting to consider issues of Creation, society, and stewardship for the next few months or years or your life? As you begin to consider these things you will soon begin to see that all is not as it should be. We don’t necessarily need more laws and we shouldn’t have undocumented workers. As members of Christ’s body, we had then better start considering ways in which we can become the salt and light of a broken world when it comes to proper stewardship of resources and fellow man. Ask yourself, “How do I vote with my wallet?” Do you always shop for price or do you consider how your food was grown and try to consider supporting more ethical methods of production? We certainly can’t complain that we pay too much for food already when compared to other nations. I am NOT discounting the hardships of those who truly are too poor to buy healthy food. I am stating that as far as a nation goes, we are the wealthiest and we pay the least for our food of any nation on this planet. Per work done at Washington State University, we spend on average 6.8% of our annual household income on food. The next closest nation is Canada as 9.1%
It’s a topic few in Christian circles talk about. We in America rarely hear anything about the Bible and farming or Creation and conservation. I think that is a sad testimony to our lack of understanding of just how powerful and creative our God truly is. When it comes to acting in consideration of Creation, our naturalist friends are far more respectful than we are. Their actions speak for their cause. Unfortunately, many of them worship the creation. Sadly, we claim to worship the Creator while we ignore the creation.
If this has stirred you in some fashion, consider these few resources below for further consideration and contemplation. When you begin to eat your next meal, take the time to consider the scope of this. You will soon find yourself digging deeper into God’s word for further study, and that is a good thing.