Going green. It’s everywhere. Slogans like “Composting is a ‘berry’ good idea!” and “‘Lettuce’ make an impact on our community” are hugging the sides of buses in California. Times Square is unveiling its first solar-powered billboard at the end of the year. Boeing is developing a new jet that burns less fuel and cuts carbon emissions. Green is in. It’s trendy. It’s big business. And it’s also very Jewish. Eco-friendly Jewish farmers are promoting the “going green” lifestyle with their free-range livestock, fairly-traded foods, and agricultural cooperatives.
Soon we’ll be replacing our SUVs with hydrogen-powered cars for those road trips to the green hills for an organic picnic lunch of fairly-traded quinoa and organic iced tea in recyclable paper cups.
But no matter how you slice it, going green is inconvenient. It requires that we change our lifestyles in order to protect the environment. Just when we thought we had enough to worry about, Al Gore in his film, An Inconvenient Truth, wants us to add the climate crisis to the list. That’s inconvenient for a lot of us. Many believe him, others think it’s a myth. But whatever side we’re on, one thing is for certain. Everybody likes a clean environment.
Keeping our planet green is a noble task. It reminds us of our original mandate. The first habitat for humanity, the Garden of Eden, was green the minute God created it and he pronounced it good. Everything in it was luxurious and convenient—the water, the air, the ground, the plants and the animals. God entrusted Adam and Eve to care for and nurture it.
But all of it was turned on its head when Eve fell into temptation and chose to question God’s love for her. She bit into the forbidden fruit and shared the experience with Adam. The universe gasped. The man and woman stood ashamed. And God knew that a toxic poison had just been released into his world that would make living very inconvenient. Immediately sin began to deconstruct everything God had made.
The problem of saving our planet goes much deeper than anything Al Gore or any green solution can solve. The Bible tells us that sin is the deadliest pollutant in the universe, and the inconvenient truth is that it took a radical and costly solution to get rid of it. Yeshua (Jesus) bore the Ultimate Inconvenient Truth, because he died for you and me. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21).
There’s nothing more inconvenient for a Jewish person than following Jesus as God’s Messiah. Friends and family won’t like it. But if we care for the fate of our planet enough to make difficult choices, shouldn’t we be just as concerned for the fate of our souls?
Not everybody will believe this, just like not everybody recycles. But those who place their faith in the Messiah become new people with a new life and a new future. And that is good for the planet:
“The righteous will flourish like a palm tree,
they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon;
planted in the house of the Lord,
they will flourish in the courts of our God.
They will still bear fruit in old age,
They will stay fresh and green,
Proclaiming, ‘The Lord is upright;
He is my Rock, and there is no wickedness in him.'”