Years ago, before I became enlightened about the importance of good stewardship, I had a wristwatch that I liked a lot. It wasn't fancy but it had the necessary elements of what I consider to be a good watch: round face, analog (not digital), with some sort of light and a comfortable band. The watch cost me less than $30 and I used it for at least 2 years before the battery died.
So, what to do? Do I replace the battery on this inexpensive watch (that also needs a new band by now) or do I just get a new watch? After all, the cost of getting a watch battery changed was nearly the cost of the watch. Or, so I thought.
Foolishly, I decided to dispose of the watch and just get a new one. After all, it wasn't anything special; just a basic watch. It seems I couldn't be more wrong. I bought a new watch and was soon annoyed by the size of the face (too small) and the watchband (too large). The light was dim and in general it just wasn't as good as the one I threw out.
You see, I had fallen into several traps-1) pure laziness (no excuses there), 2)the disposable society mindset and 3) not appreciating what I had until it was gone.
I contend (and hope) that I'm not alone in these failings. I think we all fall into one or more of these traps from time to time. But if we focus a bit on the "second 'R' '', Reuse, it may help us to avoid them in the future.
In a spiritual sense, Reusing helps us to be grateful for what we have been given (the earth, its resources, a really good watch. . .) and not take them for granted. Let's be honest, reusing takes a little effort and creativity at times. But God has given us wonderful, creative minds that can solve problems and see things in new ways.
If you want some inspiration just check out nature. A simple tree provides food and homes for birds and small mammals when it is alive. When it dies, does nature stop using it? No! It becomes food for termites and other bugs and shelter for a different set of animals. When it decomposes it becomes food for the soil. Talk about reusing!
Now, it's our turn to reuse. Here are some ways that I try and reuse things. Some of them overlap with "reduce" but that's ok.
- Use reusable water bottles instead of disposable ones
- Use reusable containers for lunches and leftovers
- Make shorts for my sons by cutting off the legs of their pants when they wear holes in the knees
- Use reusable grocery bags (it took a while to form the habit, so don't give up)
- Buy used cars
- Use the backs of computer printouts for scratch paper (make sure you're done with the front first!)
- Use empty milk jugs to mix and store plant food
- Use clean pizza boxes to store children's school work
- Change the battery on your watch when it dies! (Don't be like me!)