Fighting The Wrong Battles?

It never ceases to amaze me that people have enough time to troll the internet and respond to insignificant little bloggers like me. I get lots of positive affirmation from my loyal tens of readers. But occasionally someone will stumble on these ramblings and take offense to something I wrote. Their comments often leave me scratching my head and asking a simple question.

Is that battle worth fighting?

Good buddy Brad was good naturedly concerned about me after reading the latest post on saving baby sea turtles.

“One week in paradise and you’ve become a tree-hugger!”

Because I fear the humor impaired I will keep my response between brothers. 

Another reader quoted my remarks about how volunteers were willing to rescue turtles while the church too often lets wounded sheep fend for themselves. First my comments:

“Sad that really cool people like Sam will do that for baby turtles and that so many followers of Jesus can’t or won’t find the time to do that for fellow believers buried deep in the hole of despair and woundedness. “
Then he wrote an odd paraphrase of my words to counter a point I never made.
“Sad that we live in a world where animals are valued over humans and really cool people who are never noticed spread the gospel at risk of their lives, while others are valued by catering to animals.”
I don’t disagree that too many in our culture value animals more than suffering people. But his point seems to be comparing apples to Orangutans. Even a cursory scanning of my writing would discover that I value people and the gospel. And that I also love animals. Why are those two sentences in conflict?
I guess calling Sam a cool guy bothered this responder. My comment about Sam was unrelated to saving sea turtles or the planet. He was just a cool guy. Friendly. Patient. I don’t know his beliefs or if he values turtles over Tunisians. I just know he helps God’s creatures that have been nearly destroyed by the onslaught of man and he gives them a chance to survive. That seems to be a role that Christians could play as well as sharing the gospel to those around us. The Psalmist was an early tree hugger (it’s in the Greek)…
O Lord, what a variety of things you have made!
      In wisdom you have made them all.
      The earth is full of your creatures.
 Here is the ocean, vast and wide,
      teeming with life of every kind,
      both large and small.     (Psalm 104, NLT)
It seems to me that Christians should lead the way in valuing and protecting His awesome creation and environment. But that should always be kept in balance with the desire and need to live and share the precious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Jesus seemed to be far more concerned about how the religious people behaved than those who had no faith. He was never surprised or repulsed when sinners sinned. But He was more than a little direct when so called godly people acted like hypocrites. At the risk of even more helpful emails from the spiritual cyber-hall monitors I am going to use the translation from The Message.
“You’re hopeless, you religion scholars and Pharisees! Frauds! You keep meticulous account books, tithing on every nickel and dime you get, but on the meat of God’s Law, things like fairness and compassion and commitment—the absolute basics!—you carelessly take it or leave it. Careful bookkeeping is commendable, but the basics are required. Do you have any idea how silly you look, writing a life story that’s wrong from start to finish, nitpicking over commas and semicolons?”  (Matthew 23)
Today I am asking the Holy Spirit to show me if I nitpick over commas and semicolons and miss the very basics of God’s love. Do I fight the wrong battles and miss the blessings God has for me?
I think saving turtles is cool. But my heart’s desire is for all of us to live the gospel so that souls may be saved. The souls and needs of people around the world is clearly the most important thing for followers of Jesus. But I can’t imagine that Jesus would be upset with helping a turtle get to the sea.