I’m not quite sure where all this topic will go, and I’ll probably write a few posts about it as I think it requires a multi-faceted exploration. These musings were provoked by some blog posts by Martin Scott a couple of months ago. He posited stewardship as the appropriate governing perspective (my terminology) for the Body of Christ over against nationalism and patriotism. I really liked that idea straight away as it put words to the uneasiness I’ve often felt with patriotism; particularly in the way I’ve found it expressed within the Body of Christ.
Simply questioning patriotism in many circles is unheard of and indeed negatively provocative. I’m less interesting in stirring up a hornets nest however, by attacking patriotism, per se, than I am in exploring what stewardship could really mean in its fullest expression. My thought is that for the follower of Jesus, living a full expression of stewardship would make patriotism a lot less energizing.
Obviously the working definition of all these words can be hard to pin down and can lead to a fair amount of heated discussion. I’ll try to explain my terms as I’m using them as I go. That doesn’t mean everybody has to agree with me, of course.
I titled this Stewardship – God’s original plan? because I believe this really begins back in Genesis 1:26,28 with God’s creation of the cosmos and man. I believe that God gave Adam (and then with Eve) a small (?) parcel of land to steward (Genesis 2:8,15). I tend to think that the Garden of Eden was a “partially tamed” land to teach mankind some essential truths about how this whole thing – life, creation, relationship with God, etc. – was supposed to work…with the idea that these experiential understandings were to be applied to the rest of God’s creation. What was it that they were to understand? Certainly a lot more than I can imagine, but here’s a short list oriented to what I’d like to discuss:
- God’s creation is a living gift
- The gift is given, with love, by our Heavenly Papa to us
- Like all life in the current created order, it needs investment to flourish – a lack of investment will either kill it or cause it to grow malignantly/incorrectly
- God provides for us
- One of the chief ways that He intends to provide for us is via the creation He gives us as a gift
To summarize, He set up Creation and Man in Creation to have a symbiotic relationship. Man helps Creation flourish and Creation’s life becomes life-giving for Man. All of this is intended to be in a context of a growing relationship with God as Father. The joyful, probably limitless, treasure hunt that God has instilled in the created order is there to provide us and Him joy as we seek His heart and and He reveals clues to us as to how His Creation works. He desires that we mature and become more and more creative and loving just like Him. I also happen to think that this maturation process is part of preparing a Bride for Jesus…i.e. a creative Body of Christ to be equally yoked to the Creator for eternity…but that’s another story! 😉
More next time…