Sunday, May 6, 2012

Thoughts on stewardship

For a little while, the word stewardship was a bit of a buzzword in churches around here. People were asked to think about how they were spending their time, talent and treasure... mostly toward church-based projects.

But I think stewardship goes much further and deeper than that. Our time, talent and treasure is needed by our faith communities, true, but it is also needed in areas far beyond them. Unfortunately, somehow, we human beings have taken God's imperative in the book of Genesis (1.28), "Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living thing that lives and moves upon the earth," and narrowed what that means to the point that we have put ourselves over and above everything else God created, the results of which are not pretty.

Somehow, I think God probably would have preferred that the writer of Genesis give him words more like this: "I love you, and I want you to form community with your brothers and sisters from all over the planet, not just in your churches. I want you to be happy, and to work together with all the other creatures I've created to help them to be happy, too. I want you to use your time, talent and treasure to bring about a sense of fulfillment for all of creation, from the aerobes in the soil to the great grey whale in the sea and everything in between."

Unfortunately, the Genesis imperative is the one that seems to have formed human culture, and as a result, non-human cultures are being degraded, are suffering, and are even becoming extinct in many cases.

So we need to look again at stewardship, and to focus on using our time, talents and treasures not just in church, but every day, all the time, for the good of everything God made, not necessarily because we are stewards, but because we are one small part in one huge creation.

If this thought strikes a chord in you, I'd recommend Daniel Quinn's book, Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit (Bantam, 1992, ISBN 0-553-37540-7). I read it a couple of years ago, and it's a very imaginative story that really got me thinking about my place in creation and how important it is to live lightly...

I'd also like to point out the  new 100+ Simple Suggestions just under the Simple Moodlings header up above. That's where I'm storing all my ideas (thus far, more to come) about using our time, talent and treasure in simple ways, so that others can simply live. How many of these kinds of ideas play a part in your life? And do you have a few of your own that I've missed that you might be willing to share? If so, let me know. Happy Sunday!

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