Litter Up

litter up

The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it.

~Genesis 2:15 NLT

The time had come to litter up.

When my wife and I moved into a new subdivision and I began taking a daily walk to the entrance and back, I noticed the litter. It was mostly beer cans, but a few soda cans, bottles, and paper items were also mixed in.

I have hated litter since I was a young boy and began to understand what litter was. Why can’t people just throw their trash in their own trashcans, I wondered. I’ve been guilty of littering a few times, but my conscience bothered me each time. So, I made a pact with God not to litter and, in some ways, to clean up other people’s litter.

After weeks of seeing litter spoil my view of the woods and the creek that ran through our subdivision, I told my wife, “I’m going to take a bag with me and start cleaning up the litter.” I borrowed my mom’s reaching tool and went to work. A bag here, a bag there. Soon, I could see a difference.

But some litter proved more stubborn. It was caught in briar patches and in hilly woods. Since I was recovering from a broken femur, I didn’t dare be too risky.

One day, we kept two of our grandchildren for a few hours. One of them loves the outdoors and loves to walk with me. After we had made one circle, I asked, “Would you like to help Pop pick up litter?” He jumped at the chance.

We went to work, with him getting those hard-to-reach areas I couldn’t. Soon, we had collected a large garbage bag of cans and bottles. He wanted to know why we were doing this, and I explained. He, too, wondered why some people who lived in the subdivision couldn’t take their trash to their homes and throw it into their trashcans instead of on the road.

Eventually, our little neck of the subdivision was free of litter. Now, all I must do is pick up a few things daily that residents, wind, or water bring into our subdivision–but no more large bags to fill.

When God placed Adam and Eve in the newly-created Garden, he told them to tend it. Other verses tell us the earth belongs to the Lord. Many theologians believe the new earth God plans to create will be a refashioned version of the original. For me? I think the better job we do of caring for this one, the less work God will have to do at the end of time. And even if He makes an entirely new one, I still believe He expects us to do what He told the first couple: tend the earth.

We pay the price in numerous ways when we don’t help keep God’s creation clean. Doing things that lead to global warming can affect our health. Recently, researchers determined that wildfires release cancer-causing chemicals from the areas they burn. And litter certainly affects the beauty we could see if not for the trash.

After creating the first earth, God looked at what He had made and said, “It is good.” Let’s help Him say the same about our present earth.

Don’t let litter obliterate the beauty of God’s creation in your neighborhood or community. Think of ways you can litter up.

Martin Wiles

Martin is the Managing Editor for Christian Devotions and the Directing Editor for He is an author, English teacher, minister, freelance editor, and founder of Love Lines from God ( His most recent book is Don't Just Live...Really Live. He and his wife are parents of two and grandparents of seven.

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  1. God put mankind as stewards of all creation. That includes keeping the place looking like God intended. Thanks for the thoughts, and for involving your grandchildren in a lesson that will stick.

  2. Thank you for this good reminder. Like you, my husband and I walk and wonder why people just throw their trash off embankments, taking away the beauty of this beautiful place we call home. Thank you for doing your part. That encourages us to do the same.

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