Practical Creation Care by Jon Lewis
Stewards of God’s Creation
As leaders, we are stewards of God’s creation. We all have a role to play in caring for what he has provided.
Have you ever been in a hotel where room service keeps replacing the little soap bars and shampoo tubes every day no matter if you’ve used up the last ones or not? Do you tend to use the new ones or finish off the old ones first? How about when you head to the coffee shop for your double-shot Americano? Do you typically accept the normal 16 once paper cup complete with insulated ring and plastic cover or specifically request the ceramic mug?
As trivial as these decisions might be, your answers just might reveal what sort of mindset you have toward stewarding God’s Creation.
Granted, these are not decisions on the same plane as how to prevent deforestation of the Amazon or melting of the polar ice caps. But they do reveal a philosophy of life—one that God’s Faithful Steward learns to take seriously no matter how mundane or trivial.
The Principle of Enough
Recently I’ve been writing a resource guide for the African Steward Leader Initiative and decided one way to describe how we can embrace God’s Creation Care mandate is to make a habit out of two life principles: The Principle of Enough and The Principle of Restoration.
So many messages we receive today in our overcharged consumer culture try to convince us that we never have enough. Or that bigger and better is somehow actually—better. Or how about the idea that we really do deserve a break today? Of course, many times needing more of something is good and right, especially when it relates to something fundamental to life and healthy relationships. But it’s when we cross the line into thinking that our wants are just as important, if not more so, than our needs that we get into trouble. That is precisely the point when a Faithful Steward needs to recognize it’s time to practice The Principle of Enough.
I don’t know about you, but personally, I find that I face that decision point multiple times every day—from the choices I make on the restaurant menu to whether I really do need that six-pack of sport socks despite how good the sale price might be.
The Principle of Restoration
In a similar way, The Principle of Restoration is one that forces us to make small, but constant, life-shaping decisions. Entropy is something God designed into the fabric of the universe which we witness first-hand as our coffee cup cools down over time or left alone, our garden becomes a disordered mess of tangled weeds. That is why the second command He gave Adam and Eve, after telling them to “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth,” was to “subdue it” in a way that would bring about bountiful harvests and plentiful resources (Genesis 1:28.)
Our ability to cultivate and improve, even to make something out of nothing, flows from the part of our human nature that mirrors God’s own image—the part that makes us different from all the rest of Creation. So how should it be expressed in daily life? For me, it’s as simple as making my old 1994 Ford Probe last one more year by rubbing out its fading finish or sharpening the blades on my lawnmower. The key is not so much the action but the attitude the fuels it.
So how about you? What ways might you be able to apply some practical Creation Care and find ways to practice your own Principles of Enough and Restoration?
Jon Lewis is a Senior Associate for Partnership Advancement with OC International and focuses on encouraging global Christian leaders towards greater ministry effectiveness. With over 40-years of experience, he also served as a MAF mission pilot in Africa and CEO of Partners International.
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