Summary: This is the 2nd in a stewardship series. This message talks about our responsiblity to "reuse", "recycle" just as God has established this process in the creation itself.
In Jesus Holy Name January 20, 2008
Epiphany III Text: Psalm 24:1-2 Redeemer
“Stewardship: Managing the Things of God”
2nd in the series: Called to Care For His Earth
There are two major themes which weave their way through the scriptures: The “way to God” and the “walk with God”. The message today is not about how to have peace or forgiveness with God. It is about your walk. It’s about the management, the “stewardship” of all that God has placed at your disposal and mine.
(read the text)
If you look the word stewardship up in Webster’s Dictionary you’ll find this meaning: “Stewardship is the responsibility of managing some assets or affairs or property that belongs to some else.” Stewardship is managing something that isn’t your own. The key word in that definition is the word management. The word “steward” means “manager.
The first principle of stewardship is this: “God owns everything.” We sing: “This is My Father’s World”. He created it. He made it. So He owns it.
Principle #1 God owns it all. Principle #2 You and I were made to manage what God owns.
We were made to manage the resources that God put on earth, to rule over things and to take care of it. God’s first command involved “stewardship” of the earth. We are talking 1st Article of the Apostle’s Creed. We believe in God the Father Almighty, Maker and Owner of heaven and earth.”
In our Jr. High confirmation class we are discussing this very article of the Christian faith. Martin Luther in his Small Catechism explains the first article of the creed with these words:
“I believe that God has made me and all creatures; He has given me my body and soul, eyes and ears, and all my members, my reason and all my senses and still takes care of them.” Also clothing and shoes, food and drink, house and home, spouse and children, land, animals and all that I have….”
In the very beginning god gave human beings the responsibility to “care for the earth He created.” “The Lord God took the man and placed him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.” (Genesis 2:15)
John Evelyn (1620-1706) a churchman and founding member of the British Royal Society wrote: “the orderliness of the world machine attests to the sovereignty ….. of its Grand Architect. Human beings must exercise stewardship over the natural world so that we do not erase the marks of its Designer.” We who have been created in the image of God are to act as caretakers of his world.
John Calvin, contemporary of Martin Luther, wrote: “Let him who possesses a field, partake of its yearly fruits, not allowing the ground to suffer injury by negligence…let everyone regard himself as a steward of God in all things which he possesses.”
( Christianity Today April 1994 Article: Myth 1 the Church to Blame by David Livingstone.)
Creation tells of God’s glory and love. God lovingly provides the rains and cycling’s of water, providing food for creatures, filling people’s hearts with joy, satisfying the earth. (Psalm 104:10-18) The Apostle Paul wrote: “Creation gives clear evidence of God’s eternal power and divinity, leaving everyone without excuse before God. (Rom. 1:20)
When we abuse God’s creation we thereby grieve God. The resources of the earth are abundant but not inexhaustible. If there were an endless supply of apples and an infinite capacity of the earth to absorb garbage we could take one bite and throw the rest away and there would be no moral issue. Martin Luther wrote: “A religion that does nothing, that saves nothing, that costs nothing…is worth nothing.”
God created and set in motion all things necessary to provide for us a wonderful world.
1) I ask you to simply observe the earth’s energy exchange with the sun. Our star, the sun, pours out immense energy in all directions; heating everything in the path of its rays. A tiny part of the sun’s energy is intercepted by our planet. This energizes everything on earth, all life, oceans currents, the wind and storms.
A thin layer of gases that includes water vapor and carbon dioxide and other green house gases traps that energy and the earth becomes warm but not too warm.
The earth is warm enough to support life. The sun’s energy also contains lethal ultraviolet radiation. This can break up chemical bonds that hold together molecules and thus destroy the DNA of living things. We know one of the damages as skin cancer.
2) Here is another remarkable gift of our Creator. The gases that absorb ultraviolet light is called “ozone”, also created by God. This layer of gases is high in the atmosphere and is several miles deep. It is a shield created by God. Its purpose is to prevent most of the sun’s ultraviolet radiation from reaching the atmosphere where we live.