Hope for the Next Generation


When Christians talk about “going green,” they bring something unique to the discussion: hope. Not just hope for a better future in heaven, but hope for today through the power of God’s Holy Spirit at work in His Church. As believers in Christ, we are in the life business—life today, life tomorrow, and life the next day. Combine faith, hope, and love, and things get done. Change happens.

When I was a child, one of my favorite books was The Little Engine That Could. The story is about a big train that breaks down while carrying a load of toys and other good things to children who live on the other side of a mountain. The broken-down engine asks several other passing trains for help, but they are either unable or unwilling. Finally, he sees a tiny blue engine, and asks that much smaller engine if he’ll pull the shipment of good things to the children on the other side of the mountain. The little train looks up at that huge mountain, and isn’t sure he’s up to the task. But finally he decides to give it a go. And all the way up the hill, our little hero puffs, “I think I can. I think I can. I think I can.”

Like that little train, we may feel like there’s a huge mountain standing between us and the greener world we long for. But Jesus had a few words for us about mountains. In Matthew 17:20, he says, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

With faith in God, nothing is impossible. Living a green life is within the reach of every one of us. I think you can. God thinks you can.

When the children from the next “valley,” from the next generation, see us and the world we pass on to them, my hope is that they’ll see a generation that was green. My hope is that they’ll see a generation that took its choices seriously, that placed its faith in God, and found the strength to climb the highest mountain.

My hope is that they’ll see a little generation that did.


Check out these tip sheets that help teenagers and college students practice creation care. Here’s one for teens and one for college students.

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Emma Sleeth, an Asbury University graduate, works at the Christian environmental nonprofit, Blessed Earth. Zondervan recently re-launched the revised and expanded It’s Easy Being Green with about 50 percent new material from Emma’s four years at Asbury University and a semester in India.