The above is probably not as clear as it could be and therefore not as delicious looking as it tasted! American pancakes with various additions consumed whilst meeting with another local church leader the other day.
The Merriam-Webster online dictionary gives various definitions for the word ‘consume’ including:
to engage fully, to utilise as a customer, to do away with completely, to eat or drink especially in great quantity, to spend wastefully…
Not all of the above are that positive!
We would do well as humanity to really give careful thought to how we are stewarding this planet that has been gifted to us from God. There is more than enough for all but not at the life style level the minority of us in the world live! So therein lies some real challenges. Are we willing to embrace some changes so that others can benefit?
Are we contributors as well as consuming or are we consumers alone? Is it about what we can get, we can take, we can have? How do we approach our lives, our families, our work, our church, our neighbourhood? As consumers or contributors?
In his book ‘Culture Care’, American Japanese artist Makoto Fujimura sends out a call that Christians should see part of their life mission as being called to be contributors to culture rather than consumers of it. What might that look like in each of our lives? (as an aside if you read this before Sunday 18th, one of the seminars taking place is about ‘Culture and Faith’ It will be touching on such issues about culture).
In the New Testament, we can read these words:
Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.
2 Corinthians 9:6-8 New International Version
The context is about money to be given to help others in real need. Are we open to being cheerful givers with our money? More than this though – how about also with our time, our attitudes, the way we treat others? To be generous contributors in all kinds of ways. To have an attitude to give rather than to get! (when we have a heart to give, we very often ending up getting along the way in some form or other anyhow!)
The verses quoted above show that to be a contributor, we need a heart to be a cheerful giver. Yet also we need to have hearts that trust God – “And God is able to bless you abundantly…” Do we believe that?
I don’t mean some kind of ‘health, wealth and prosperity’ distortion of the Gospel. Rather do we believe that God is able to bless us (which may not mean in terms of money!) so we can “abound in every good work'” – a big part of that is that we might contribute into the lives of others around.
So with God’s help and a heart to see others and the planet as He does, let’s seek to contribute not just consume!