On Sunday 10 October at 9:30, just before our second Eco service, a good number of us joined in together to clean up the area around the church. It was a very pertinent and enjoyable way to lead into Caring for Creation.

One of the unexpected highlights of my morning was just how many members of the public stopped to say thank you. My face does not tend to invite conversation on the best of days, so it was good to hear so many grateful remarks. And I was delighted to reply with a smile that it was the church on the corner responsible for the initiative.

Somewhere along East Fettes Avenue with my Litter Picker Pro™ in my right hand and an increasingly heavier bin bag in my left, my mind drifted off to the topic of, well…rubbish. That word, specifically.

Soon after I became a Christian, the version of the Bible that I became most accustomed to was the English Standard Version. I remember when I first studied Philippians (3:8), the word “rubbish” provoked thought simply because it wasn’t a word I used back then and doesn’t appear elsewhere in the New Testament. Funnily enough, the NIV which I now use daily renders the same word as “garbage” to which I would never have blinked an eye.

The Apostle Paul who wrote the word did so with strong feelings (σκύβαλα for those interested). He says that all of the things that he formerly put his confidence in; his background, his class status, his affiliations, his nationality, his zeal and ability in obeying the law – those things are rubbish in comparison to the “surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord”.

Paul continued to be an advocate for and an example of holy living but he was keen for everyone to know that there was only one source of salvation and nothing else: faith in Christ. Likewise, we should certainly keep doing collective good in our church neighbourhood such as picking up litter but imagine the rejoicing in heaven if our efforts led to someone meeting their Saviour!

It made me think more deeply about those compliments and messages of gratitude I received from those who passed by, and what they might think about our church because of that morning. I hope they see us as people with conscience, people who care about others, and people who care enough about creation to act. I hope they see us as people who care about them, too. There’s an addition to the old quote: “People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care…about them.” We just want them to know and experience just how much God loves them.

I share your prayers that God will use these collective actions in his people as salt and light and that it will bring others to Jesus. Let’s pray that God will give us more great opportunities like this which allow us to show (and tell!) people that we love them and we serve a God who loves them too.

[from Kenny McCartney, Youth Pastor]

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