Thursday, June 14, 2012

Must Become Less

When people were pointing out to John the Baptist that Jesus was gaining popularity, he replied "He must become greater, I must become less."

For some reason, when I hear this verse, I start thinking of sustainability. I think of countries that are poorer than mine and how, if we are to all live on this earth long-term (instead of starting off-planet colonies), the world needs to reduce its consumption as a whole.

There is a website that measures how many earths would be needed if everyone lived like me (or you). How Many Earths Quiz. Now I don't think I am too shabby in the living sustainably...until I take the quiz. Personally, humans would need 5.46 earths if everyone lived like I did. I only exceeded the US average in one category (apparently our food is really taking a lot of resources). That's with Lucas and I rarely eating out, with home-cooked meals with food bought from Aldi's, with unplugging appliances that aren't used, with having a (small) garden, with thrift shopping, with using some more "green" light fixtures, with keeping our house 65 degrees in the winter & 80 degrees in the summer, with recycling pop cans & cardboard & paper.

Nonetheless, we drive two cars, we do turn on the a/c and heat, we do use a washing machine & dryer (despite the clothes line outside), we do ignore the other trash that we don't recycle, we do occasionally eat out, we do have 3 computers in our two-person household.

Lucas and I will be moving to another country (by the grace of God). When we move, I expect to learn just how many conveniences I had back here in the US.

What does this have to do with John's response? I am an average American; there are those who live much more extravagantly, with a much larger number of earths needed if everyone lived that way. God cares about the poor, the orphaned, and the widowed. If I want these people God cares about to be out of poverty, but there's no more resources to give them what I have while keeping what I have, I must decrease my consumption, so that theirs can increase. I can make do with less, so they can have more.

I know, I know. You worked hard for your money and for your stuff. But when did stuff become more important than people? Americans have a very high standard of living, but sometimes, that makes it hard to distinguish needs from wants. We are stewards of the earth, but when the end of the world occurs, I think we're gonna give a broken earth back to God.

Does our lifestyles suffer when we eat homemade foods? Our waistlines don't.
Are we deprived when we find a deal at a yard sale or thift shop?
Do our relationships suffer when we consume less tv, less internet, and less movies?
Does a slower pace through life destroy the journey?


  1. When we look at how little the majority of the world has, we are very rich indeed. Mom

    1. Quite true. Makes you wonder how to help.