During the next few weeks, we will be hearing a lot about faithful stewardship in preparation for Consecration Sunday, October 8. I thought it might be helpful at the outset to share my perspective on what I believe to be the foundation of Christian stewardship.
Creation Has Been Given Into Our Care.
In the very first chapter of the very first book of the Bible, we read that God created human beings in God’s own image. God blessed our species, entrusted the rest of creation into our hands, and gave us all the gifts we will need to fulfill our unique purpose.
This ancient passage is the basis for our Christian theology of stewardship.
- To be created in the “image” of God means to be a living witness to the Creator and to be an official representative of the Creator on planet earth.
- To “subdue” the earth means to bring things under control and to manage them according to God’s purposes.
- To have “dominion” means that human beings have been appointed as the rulers and protectors of all living things, serving under the ultimate sovereignty of God, their Creator.
So, human beings have been entrusted with the vocation of stewardship, the call and commission to represent our Creator in caring for everything in the amazing universe that has been given to us to sustain all life.
God doesn’t expect such things from other creatures nor has God equipped other creatures for such a role. Birds, for example, build essentially the same kind of nest every year. A robin builds a robin’s nest. A cardinal builds a cardinal’s nest. A hummingbird builds a hummingbird’s nest. From one generation to another, each kind of bird builds the kind of nest into which it came into this world.
Humans, on the other hand, have the capacity to build an infinite variety of buildings for an infinite variety of purposes. We build houses, schools, hospitals, office buildings, convention centers, and churches. Every one of them can be different from the others and from those that we built a generation or a year ago.
The vocation of stewardship is given uniquely to human beings. Therefore, it is one of the chief attributes that makes us human.
Everything we have, whether spent, saved, or given away, is a sacred trust from God. We are stewards of all of it.
Nothing pleases God more than for us to consciously live our lives as God envisioned. To understand ourselves as stewards of God’s bounty is the perfect way to do that. When we deliberately surrender to God a portion of our time, talent, gifts, and service, as a spiritual practice, we consecrate all the rest of our resources and declare our intention, with God’s help, to manage the rest in ways that please God. In that way, we become fully alive children of God.
What a remarkable way to honor and glorify God.
I'll see you in Church!
The Very Reverend Ron Pogue
St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral
CONSECRATION SUNDAY, OCTOBER 8