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Friday, September 7, 2012

Stewardship Series: 2 Stewardship of Creation


Stewardship of Creation 
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Today we continue our series on Stewardship.

Last time we saw that the truth is that God owns everything and human beings are His stewards, caretakers, and we saw that God entrusts different things to different people. As Christians we are called to be Good Stewards of the things God entrusts to us. Today we are looking at our Stewardship of Creation, which God has entrusted to us. 

The following is a quote from Patricia Fagg, a Christian environmentalist:

“If I fail to acknowledge that God has made the natural world and so treat His work with contempt, if I treat creation as if it were my own to do with as I please, if I deface creation and mar its ability to delight God and to bring Him glory, if I impair creation and it’s creatures so that they cease to flourish in healthful balance, if I degrade my surroundings by greedily taking from creation and thoughtlessly tossing out the waste, then I put myself in the place of God and usurp His place as King. I am in rebellion against God. I have broken the two great commandments. I am not loving God. I am not loving my neighbour.”

If you’ve read/watched the news, you’ve heard of things like global warming, hole in ozone layer, forests being destroyed, air and water pollution, of fresh water running out, of fossil fuels running out, etc, etc. 
The question is, do I care? 

Should a Christian care about these things? 

Do you care about these things?

The future of our world and the well being of it’s children are at risk. Some of the most urgent issues include the degradation of agricultural and pastoral lands, deforestation, diminishing water supplies, rising levels of pollution and the provision of safe power. The tragedy of such trends is that the environment becomes less able to balance itself – floods and droughts are more frequent, crops and herds are unable to survive beyond their range of tolerance, humans face worsening flood and water security and increased levels of poverty.

Do you and I care? 

Should a steward of God's creation care about these things?

If human beings weren’t here, the world, its rivers, its animals, its forests, its atmosphere.... would all be in a far better way.

Ultimately we must recognize that God’s creation is groaning because of human sin. As Romans 8:22 reminds us: For we know that up to the present time all of creation groans with pain, like the pain of childbirth. 

Now, sin is our business. Healing sin and its consequences is a mission of the Church. Do we believe that a God-centered response to stewardship of the environment will result in some healing for creation, some improvement in the lives of people (especially for the most needy), or do we not care,.... or worse, have we given up. If we do believe that a God-centered response to stewardship of the environment will result in some healing for creation, some improvement in the lives of people (especially for the most needy), then...
IT IS OUT TASK TO CARE FOR CREATION, and to the believe that it’s not too late.

There seem to be at least 4 principles of earth care in the Bible:

1.   God intends creation to flourish, not suffer. 
Ps 24:1 ‘The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof…’ ....fullness implies bursting at the seams with his creatures and their praise for Him. 
Be fruitful and increase in number’ ....is not only said to human beings but also to the birds of the air and the fish of the sea. God intends creation to flourish, and when it doesn’t, it should bother us.

2.   God intends us to be active users of creation
… fill the earth and bring it under your control” (Gen 1:28). We are intended to make use of creation – eg. cultivating crops, domesticating animals, cropping trees and minerals – this is God’s provision for us.

3.   God intends us to use creation wisely
 “Rule over…” (Gen 1:28) Rule over this creation in a way that it thrives.

4.   Go intends us to nurture creation. 
The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to take care of it...” (Gen 2:15) The emphasis changes from ‘use’ to ‘tend and care’. There’s a sense in which God expects us to bless creation.

Our parable reading from Mt 21:33-40 reminds us that a day of judgment is coming ....“Therefore, when the owner of the vineyard comes," ....when you and I will be judged: How did we care for the vineyard (creation) that was entrusted to us? 

And Jesus won’t say ‘Cedric, you didn’t stop global warming.’ But He will say, ‘Cedric, what did you, as you lived in Alberton, do to try and prevent my planet from overheating............. to save water or electricity etc.
What did you do when you discovered how chickens are treated in battery farms?
Did you think it wasn't your business to care for my creation?

Conclusion:

We are looking at Stewardship.
The good news is that the mighty, Creator God, has invited you and me into a relationship with Him in which He asks us to be His stewards. Isn't that awesomely good news?
Do you think God wants you to care for His creation in your ‘little’ way? What are you and I going to do in response to being reminded that we are Stewards of Creation?

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