We Need a Course Correction

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In the beginning, God speaks the first sentence of a love story that will include all creatures and all people…and it all begins with light. When God sends His Son, it’s no surprise He is called the “Light of the World.”


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When God called me to this ministry, I was a physician—chief of staff and head of the emergency department—at one of the nicest hospitals on the coast of New England. I enjoyed my job, my colleagues, my expensive home, my fast car, and my big paycheck. I have since given up every one of those things. What I have gained in exchange is a life richer in meaning than I could have imagined. Not everyone can completely change paths, but each of us can periodically examine our lives to determine whether we need a course correction.

Over the past decade, my family and I have made significant lifestyle changes. We use less than one-third of the fossil fuels and one-quarter of the electricity we once used. We’ve gone from leaving two barrels of trash by the curb each week to leaving one bag every few weeks. Half of our possessions have found new homes. We are a poster family for the downwardly mobile.

Because of these changes, we have more time for God. Spiritual concerns have filled the void left by material ones. Owning fewer things has resulted in things no longer owning us. We have put God to the test, and we have found his Word to be true. He has poured blessings and opportunities upon us. When we stopped living a life dedicated to consumerism, our cup began to run over. We have seen miracles.

Today I preach about God and his creation. I am one of a growing number of those whom the Lord is using to educate people about his love for them and his love for the natural world. The earth was designed to sustain every generation’s needs, not to be plundered in an attempt to meet one generation’s wants.

As I go around preaching and teaching, people share their concerns. It seems that many want a less hectic daily schedule; others long for meaning and purpose, and the security of a rich spiritual life. Still others know what is keeping them from a closer walk with God but cannot overcome inertia to make the necessary changes.

I believe that everyone needs to ask, “Is my life, or my family’s life, too hard?” If the answer is yes, the solution may be not to work more or “smarter” but to change bosses. In my own life and in my observation of thirty thousand patients, I’ve seen that working for God and his kingdom has a better payoff than working for the consumer world.  I’ve found peace and meaning in serving God and protecting his planet.

With Earth day coming up this month (April 22), check out ways you can make Earth Day a Church Day with this free tip sheet. Also go to our Seedbed Facebook page and enter our photo contest. The winners will get a free copy of one of Blessed Earth’s film series.

 

 

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Matthew Sleeth, MD, is the executive director of Blessed Earth, author of the Introduction to The Green Bible and Serve God, Save the Planet, and an Asbury Seminary adjunct faculty member and director of the new Seminary Stewardship Alliance.

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