Summary: There is the question of stewardship: Are we really stewards? Where does that concept come from? It comes from this text.

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Genesis 1:26-31 The Stewardship Mandate

6/10/07 D. Marion Clark


A man and a woman stand on the deck of a yacht. The sun is setting. Dinner is being prepared. She is discovering what he already knows – that they are soul mates. She says to him,

“You’ve never felt how small you were when looking at the ocean.”

He laughed. “Never. Nor looking at the planets. Nor at mountain peaks. Nor at the Grand Canyon. Why should I? When I look at the ocean, I feel the greatness of man. I think of man’s magnificent capacity that created this ship to conquer all that senseless space. When I look at mountain peaks, I think of tunnels and dynamite. When I look at the planets, I think of airplanes.”

“Yes [she replies]. And that particular sense of sacred rapture men say they experience in contemplating nature – I’ve never received it from nature, only from…” She stopped.

“From what?”

“Buildings,” she whispered. “Skyscrapers.”

This is moving stuff to be sure. Gail Wynand proposes to Dominque Francon just a few minutes later in Ayn Rand's book, The Fountainhead. The author, however, was not writing a romance, but rather a novel of philosophy. One aspect of that philosophy as expressed here is the greatness of man seen through his ability to do what our biblical text says – "subdue [the earth]." There is one particular difference. Rand's philosophy has no place for God.

Rand was very concerned with what a person did with his ability. What she had little patience with is what we will patiently explore through the summer – the concept of stewardship. What does it mean for us to have been given great ability and resources by our Maker? What do we owe him, and what is our responsibility to our fellow creatures and the rest of his creation?

We will explore the answers mostly through examining how others practiced stewardship: Cain and Abel, Abraham, Esau, Jacob, Joseph, and others. But there is the question of stewardship itself: Are we really stewards? Where does that concept come from? Well, it comes from the text we will study tonight.

The Text

The stewardship mandate is founded on the teaching of the first chapter of Genesis. God created the world. God created us – man. God set us over his world.

1. God created the world. Whatever viewpoint we may bring to how creation came to be, the one undisputable teaching of Genesis 1 is that God is the Creator. And thus creation is his possession. As Moses tells his people, "Behold, to the LORD your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it" (Deuteronomy 10:14).

God created with purpose. All that is created has been made to glorify him. "For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen" (Romans 11:36). He has made the heavens and the earth that he might enjoy his creation: "May the glory of the Lord endure forever; may the Lord rejoice in his works" (Psalm 104:31).

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