Of my friends there are two couples I want to introduce to you. The Haveahouse couple, and the Renter couple. So the Haveahouses knew the Renters. Both were active in the lesbian community. I know both couples pretty well, and liked them. Haveahouses ended up renting their second house to the Renters. Keeping things in the community is good, right?
Well, as it turned out, the Renters pretty much trashed the place. Even though they knew the Haveahouse couple and thought of them as friends they still messed up their house. See, the Renters had a young kid, and animals, and were just way too busy with other concerns to be really careful and responsible with the house. They had other priorities. When the renters got a chance at “a much better place” after a few years, of course they just walked away, never looking back and not really understanding what the Haveahouses were so worked up about. The whole thing left the Haveahouses pretty embittered.
It has always been important to me to be very responsible with the up-keep of the places which I rent. Even last week, when we were on vacation staying at a cabin loaned by a friend, we were so very careful to leave the place “better than we found it.” Because to me, this caring attitude is the way I express my gratitude to the people that provide the spaces in which I enjoy my life.
I have worked for people who rent a lot of houses. From that experience I can assure you that most renters certainly do not take pains to improve upon the house they rent. Most people seem to have a threshold of how much worse they feel okay about leaving it. It’s like “normal wear and tear” means that it’s okay to leave walls that must be patched and carpet that must be replaced.
Most people do not leave their rental better than they found it.
And here’s where I’m going to make a connection that might tick a lot of people off. But look, stick with me here for a minute and just think about what it means if I’m even kinda right.
To most Christians, the earth is just a rental. Their real home, the one they will own, is Heaven.
The other day it dawned on me that this might explain why a lot of Christians are not really interested in environmental issues, or sociological problems that have plagued our civilization for hundreds of years. They are here for a few minutes to 100 years max. Then they’re off to a “much better place.” They have other priorities. They are just renters here.
But here’s the bottom line, leaving this planet better than we found it is the only way to express proper gratitude to the One who created it.
So my Christian friends, whether or not you feel like a renter here, I challenge you to start showing your gratitude by caring more about the earth. Maybe with your help we can leave her better than we found her.