Editor’s note: Are you looking for ways to help those you lead remember God’s good gifts to us in the creation and thank him for them? Would you like to remind everyone of our responsibility to care for those gifts? Then consider CTA’s colorful Recycled Paper Click Pens or Foldable Water Bottles. Those items and the devotion below have been developed to help you highlight stewardship issues from a Christian perspective.
Do you remember your first babysitter? Do you remember the first time you were paid to babysit?
Babysitters vary greatly. Some take their shoes off, sit right down on the floor, and play with their charges. Others walk around the room observing the action, ready to rain down discipline should any of the children step out of line. Sometimes babysitters are disinterested. Some would rather engage with friends via cell phone than with the kids face-to-face.
What kind of babysitters did you have as you were growing up? (Allow volunteers to respond if it’s appropriate.)
All of us would probably agree on the need for order in a home. Someone has to be in charge. Generally that’s the parents. Occasionally, when they won’t be home, parents hire a substitute – a babysitter – to keep order. A parent trusts the babysitter to take care of the children. The babysitter acts in place of the parent to keep the household running smoothly for an hour or two or, in some cases, even a day or two.
Getting to the Heart
Babysitters can be good or bad, responsible or irresponsible. Either way, the babysitter is in charge. The babysitter is accountable for the safety and well being of children until the parents return.
Similarly, God has put us in charge of his creation. We learn a lot about that creation from Genesis 1. Out of nothing, God created day and night. Out of nothing God created land and water, sky and sea. Out of nothing, God created plants and trees, stars, the moon and sun. Out of nothing God created fish, birds, and mammals.
The more we learn about God’s creation, the more we stand in awe of his power and wisdom! Mountains and oceans reflect God’s majesty. The psalms are full of praise for God’s creative wisdom. Psalm 8 describes some of the details of God’s power and praises him for his majesty. (Read Psalm 8.)
Both Genesis 1 and Psalm 8 describe the creation; they both also describe our relationship to that creation. Listen! (Reread Psalm 8:6.)
God put us, his human creations, in charge of the universe he created. We are his representatives in this world. He intends that we serve as faithful, caring, diligent stewards – caretakers – of the world he created. We are not to waste or spoil the gifts he has given. Rather, we are to use God’s gifts to care for others all around us.
Often, though, we neglect our duty. We waste and throw away what we could recycle or reuse. We ignore those in our own city and around the world who do not have access to clean water. Sometimes we even turn on our neighbors for their zealous environmental behaviors. Or we feel smugly superior to those who fail to show enough zeal in their stewardship. We have even turned our God-given stewardship of the earth into a political issue. We fail – and we do it quite spectacularly!
Praise God, then, for the redemptive work of Jesus our Savior. When Adam and Eve disobeyed God, it created a rift between God and his creation. We ourselves have widened that rift and we keep on doing that. The Creator could have abandoned or even destroyed his human creatures – and he would have been perfectly justified in doing so! But instead, God chose to close the rift, to make a way to restore us to himself.
You know what his plan involved. You and I know it so well that we sometimes take it for granted! But if it were not for this great, Good News of the Gospel, we would live forever without God and without hope!
That’s why our heavenly Father sent his Son, Jesus to be born here on earth for us. Jesus lived the perfect life we could not live. Then he died for sins he did not commit – our sins. Jesus took the punishment we deserve so that we could be restored to a right relationship with God and with one another. But Jesus didn’t stay dead. He rose again, defeating not only sin, but also death and the devil. And because Jesus overcame death, we too will overcome it. We will live with God for all eternity.
The perfect harmony in creation that the Bible promises has not yet happened. But it will! And until it does, our Creator-Savior has entrusted us with the care of his creation.
Taking it Home
When you were children, your babysitters were responsible for your wellbeing while your parents were away. In ways very like that, God has made you and me responsible for the care of his creation. We are his representatives. We get to honor him by caring for the earth and serving one another.
When we give blood, when we recycle, when we make informed choices as consumers, when we advocate for a healthy environment for our neighbors near and far, we are being good stewards of God’s creation and good witnesses to those around us.
Let the (name the items you are giving away today) you will receive as you leave remind you of God’s love for you and of the stewardship he has entrusted to you.
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