Responsible Consumption

Sell your possessions, and give to the needy. Provide yourselves with moneybags that do not grow old, with a treasure in the heavens that does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth destroys. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.

Luke 12: 33-34

Our reflection today links our Christian Faith to the Sustainable Development Goals, and today we focus on the SDG Goal 12 – “Responsible Consumption & Production”

Our earth is drowning in plastic – by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. We buy more and more bargain clothes. We buy junk food which is destroying our bodies and the planet.

We need to begin to produce and consume only what we need. There is enough on this planet for everyone – there is enough for our needs, but not for our greed.

Luke quotes Jesus saying, “What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:25).

We are created to be producers, and to be fruitful (Genesis 1:28, 9:17), (e.g. Exodus 28:3). We can receive satisfaction and material reward from our labours, but primary responsibility is to take only what we need for healthy living and invest any surplus into the wellbeing of our communities and environmental habitats which are for the benefit of wider society and future generations.

When the Bible speaks of ‘dominion’ (Gen 1:28-30) it does not refer to dominance or abuse of the Earth, it refers to our guardianship responsibility, to protect and nurture creation (Genesis 2:15), to help our world and everything that lives in it to flourish. To do otherwise is to give in to self-centred human nature that resulted from the corruption event of Genesis 3.

A manifestation of that corruption is greed. Jesus spoke powerfully against greed and the unproductive storing and defence of surplus (Luke 12:13-21) as it diverts a person’s devotion away from God. In contrast, followers of Christ participate in God’s shalom kingdom where we are called to remain in constant dependence on God as our provider, receiving from God what we need and freely sharing our surplus for the common good of all (Luke 12:22-34).

Produce and consume only what you need!
Adapted from WEA The Bible and SDGs

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