I’m taking a phrase from the Boy Scouts and applying it to our lives: Leave it better than you found it. I’ve examined how we can leave our jobs better than we found them, and leave our relationships better than we found them. Now I want to think about a third area:
We should leave our environment better than we found it.
There’s a lot of concern in our day about what’s happening to our environment. We should be good stewards of God’s universe, that’s for sure. This should compel us to recycle as much as possible, and to do whatever we can to make our physical world better than we found it.
There’s also our more personal environment to consider—our living space and our working space. I have a friend who decided she could do something for her personal environment. She got tired of how messy and unclean public washrooms tend to be. She decided that she would try to leave any washroom she used better than she found it. When she told me what she was doing, I realized I had never even thought of taking that kind of responsibility—to leave a public space better than I found it.
If we all did that, we’d live in cleaner, nicer environments, wouldn’t we? Our streets and roadways wouldn’t be cluttered with trash.
Someone has said that cleanliness is next to godliness. While I’m not sure that can be supported biblically, there’s no doubt that we should care about cleanliness for ourselves and for others. Why not decide to leave our environments—wherever they may be—better than we found them?!