In our first week of the Narrative Lectionary for Formation in Faith we read the first creation account found in the first chapter of Genesis. In the account God is the primary actor here, lavishly calling the cosmos and the world into being and creating the fish of the sea, the birds of the air, and the beasts of the field to populate the earth. Capping Creation is the creation of humankind in God’s own image. What might it mean to participate in God’s story in light of this creation account?
One answer to that is to consider the biblical and ancient idea of the Steward. The Steward in the Ancient Near East was the intermediary between the King and the realm. This is implicit in what it means to be created in the Image of God. We are God’s Stewards. Lutheran theologian David Rhoads writes: “Steward is a biblical term that refers to a manager who is responsible for the goods and property of another. A steward is not therefore an owner, but one who has a responsibility to an owner to treat property with care and respect. Stewardship is a term that refers to the responsibility of a steward to manage wisely.”
Rhoads continues “Stewardship has come to be used in the Christian community in a broader sense for our responsibility to manage wisely the goods and property that are in our possession. The assumption is that we do not really possess or own anything. Rather, the world, including us, belongs to God, and it is arrogant for humans to think otherwise. Therefore, we are not owners but stewards of all that comes into our arena of responsibility—income, assets, property, goods, time, talents, and our very selves. Religious stewardship is management as sacred trust.”
Participating in the Story of God as we reflect on this creation account begins with a reflection upon the abundance of creation that God has given to us, our time, our treasure, our talent, and that they belong not to us but to God, given not only for our well being, but that we might share in God’s purposes in the world. This should lead us to thanksgiving. It should also encourage us to live into our vocation as stewards.
Stewardship can take on many forms. For instance, proper stewardship of the created world, our planet and environment, has become a major focus for many these days. Of course there is also the call to offer of our financial resources and time to God’s purposes.
As we move into the next act of the great narrative of scripture, we encourage households to reflect on the call to be a steward of God’s good gifts.
- Spend time taking care of the environment: pick up trash together in the neighborhood, park, or other public place. Consider ways of saving energy in the home.
- Consider your financial stewardship. Discuss with children giving a percentage of their allowance to God’s purposes either through the church or to a ministry or program helping those in need.
- Ask how much time each member of the household is offering to the service of others. How might the household offer more of their time?
Grace and Peace,