Is Wasting Food a Sin?

In September, I was travelling along a remote road with an elderly Dutch woman from my church. We drove by an apple orchard with fallen, rotten apples all over the place. My companion’s response was really visceral. Is wasting food a sin, we questioned together. My grandfather was a farmer in Holland, she informed the pastor.

He often stressed to us the sinfulness of squandering food. What do you think of that? I was stumped for words at the time. Like the majority of Christians, I had a tendency to view sin as deliberate acts of disobedience. On the ground, apples that have fallen from apple trees decay. It just happens that way. In actuality, this is how trees procreate.But I was reminded of this talk once more as I was reading John’s gospel recently. Jesus instructs the disciples to gather all the food so that none is lost after he feeds the 5,000. He instructed his disciples to gather the leftover food after everyone had had enough to eat. Nothing should be squandered. (John 6:12)

It occurred to me that the manufacturing of food was a miraculous feat. Why be concerned about what remained? Jesus could perform this miracle whenever he wanted, but that didn’t make it any less significant to him. Did you realize that half of the food produced in the US is wasted? In reality, organic waste is a significant source of greenhouse gases and the second-largest component of landfills in the United States.Most people will say that they oppose food waste if you ask them. Why then do we waste it so much? By 2012, there were 35 million tonnes of food wasted in the United States, up from 12.2 million tonnes in the 1960s. Jesus miraculously fed 5,000 people and then told the disciples to gather up the leftovers. It didn’t matter that the food had been delivered in a miraculous way; in actuality, all food is a gift from God. People who lack sufficient resources waste food, which is immoral.

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