For too long there has seemed to be a division between environmental issues and Christian principles. However, when we look at the Bible, our responsibilities regarding our planet and its inhabitants are clearly mapped out. One way we can build stronger bridges between ourselves as God’s people and the world that God has entrusted us with is by pairing Scripture memorization with environmental activities. Below are ten ways to incorporate Scripture into the way you engage with this world.
1. Plant a Garden
God has given us “every seed-bearing plant throughout the earth and all the fruit trees” to eat (Genesis 1:29). Planting a garden will help you reduce your consumption of processed and packaged food. Talk with your family about how eating fresh foods from the earth is part of God’s plan for our physical health. (No room to garden? Try a container garden for one-stop salsa.)
2. Give Rather than Get
According to James, unless our faith produces “good deeds, it is dead and useless” (James 2:15–17). So help your kids recognize those around them with needs and then come up with a solution.
One idea is to make your child the gift giver at his next birthday party. My boys had a combined party, and in lieu of gifts (how many more action figures did my sons need, anyway?), they asked for items our local food pantry needed. We learned that the pantry keeps “birthday bags” on hand for children who might otherwise not have a cake for their special day. Each guest brought icing, cake mix, and a package of candles, and we provided the gift bags to decorate during their party!
3. Care for Creatures Together
It’s not just Mom’s job to walk the dog and make sure he’s fed—especially since Junior promised to take care of the family pet. By helping your kids understand that God gave them dominion over the animals on the earth (Genesis 1:28), your children will see that feeding Fido or cleaning the lizard tank with a happy heart isn’t just a chore; it’s a biblical responsibility.
4. Be Glad . . . and Praise!
The earth, and all of us, were created to honor and worship the Lord. “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it,” the psalmist proclaimed in Psalm 118:24 (ESV).
Evenings—at the dinner table or during bedtime prayers—are wonderful opportunities to take turns naming something specific each person is glad God created: a stunning sunset, spring rain, or budding flowers, for example. If your family knows they’ll be asked to share about gratitude in the evening, they’ll be more likely to look for God’s gifts during the day.
5. Resist Consumerism
We live in a society where the next pair of shoes, the newest video game, and the latest phone are all advertised as must-have, life-changing purchases. But coveting things and acquiring more than we can care for (and afford) takes our focus away from stewardship, for God clearly tells us not to make idols out of our material belongings (Leviticus 26:1). Be mindful of purchases, and when it’s time to get something new, donate or sell something old.
6. Unplug . . . And Get Outside
According to a 2013 report from the US Department of Labor, Americans watch close to three hours of television every day. Where does that show our treasure is (Matthew 6:21)? It’s much harder to appreciate nature when you’re rarely outside to enjoy it. This week, skip screen time for one hour (or one day) by adding a walk to your day. Learn what treasures are waiting outside your front door.
7. Recycle Your Closet
When we see others in need but don’t show compassion or offer help, John tells us that we’re not loving with God’s love (1 John 3:16–18). How many times have I looked in my overstuffed closet and thought, I have nothing to wear? Help yourself while helping others by cleaning out your closet and recycling your clothes. Don’t know where to start? Check out this cheat sheet and enjoy living with less.
8. Focus on Jesus
If Jesus were standing right next to me, I wouldn’t take a stack of napkins when I only need one, or pretend I didn’t see the trash lying next to the garbage can. I would be mindful of how I used my supplies and be conscious of small details. “Working for the Lord rather than people” (Colossians 3:23) makes the mundane more meaningful (and more joyful)!
9. Watch and Discuss
As your family learns how environmental stewardship can be another way to praise the Lord for all he has created (John 1:3), try to get everyone in the family on board. For a great family-friendly video you can enjoy in less than half an hour, watch Our Father’s World.
10. Ground Yourselves in God's Word
When we keep God at the forefront, everything we do becomes purposeful—including our choices to be good stewards of God’s creation. Taking care of the earth and living biblically become seamless when we ground our actions and decisions in Scripture. As a family, work together to memorize Romans 8:28 and reflect on what it means to love God and live out his purpose. (For an extra challenge, memorize additional passages from this top 10 list too!)
These simple ideas can help you and your family grow closer to God and each other by honoring the beautiful world God has created for us. We’re blessed to dwell in it!
Helen Coronato is a TCW regular contributor as well as a non-fiction author and a homeschooling mom of two boys. She’s also the author of Eco-Friendly Families. Check out her projects and connect at HelenCoronato.com.