For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time. Not only so, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for our adoption to sonship, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Romans 8:19-24
Then I saw “a new heaven and a new earth,” for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and there was no longer any sea. Revelation 21:1
Eschatology is the study of end times. Every one of us has our own eschatology of some sort. That is, we all have some idea of how the world might end and what may happen at Christ’s return. Unfortunately, these end-time beliefs have provided some of God’s people with a ready-made excuse to dismiss any notion of caring for creation. The argument goes like this, “if this world is going to be burned up and destroyed anyway, we are wasting our time trying to take care of it. We should be focusing all of our time on more spiritual things.” This thinking is both un-biblical and illogical.
In Romans, Paul tells us that the earth itself will be freed from its bondage and fully restored. Far from burning up, it will be, “liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.” That view of the new earth is echoed in John’s Revelation when he sees a new heaven and a new earth coming down, showing that creation itself will be transformed through the final victory of Christ at the second coming. From a biblical standpoint, there is no permission or command to desecrate this planet because of some coming destruction.
This argument is also illogical if we were to apply it anywhere else. Would we say of our own bodies that because we will die and our bodies will decay, we should have no concern for them while we’re alive”? Of course not. In fact Scripture commands us to take care of our bodies because they reflect God’s image, just as creation bears God’s judgment that it is “very good.”
There is no theology of the end times that gives us the right, the command or the permission to relinquish our responsibility as caretakers and stewards of God’s creation. God will do with this world what he wants. In the meantime we are called to be his hands and feet, bearing his image and working in his name to love what he loves and care for what he pronounced as good.
We do so because we are people of faith and people of hope. When we are stewards of our time, our possessions, and the world itself, we bear witness to our faith in a God who created and sustains all things. The life of the steward is a life of faith. When we live as faithful stewards in all areas of our life, we demonstrate our hope in the coming of the kingdom of God. The life of the steward makes the invisible Kingdom of God visible.
This is our high and holy calling. We are people of faith, people of hope, stewards of all of life, and children in the kingdom of the triune God of grace. To God be the glory.
Take a few moments today and read Revelation 21 – 22. The imagery is so rich and powerful. Close your eyes and see the whole scene unfold in your mind. It is replete with rivers and trees, lights, healing, joy, peace and glory. This is the heart of the God we serve. This is his attitude and his intention for us. It is in his name that we live in this present world waiting for the fulfillment of all things. Every action you take as a steward will either affirm your love and commitment to this God and his vision, or it will deny that faith and side with the one who would destroy the world and all who live in it. As we said before, every decision we make in life is the decision of lordship. Make a decision today to be a faithful steward who lives a life of faith and hope. Hold this image from Revelation in your mind, it is your heritage, your future. And as you do, pray that God will give you the strength courage to be a faithful steward of all of life until you hear those words from the Master’s lips, “well done, good and faithful steward.”
Heavenly Father, what an amazing future you have prepared for us. Sometimes I forget how deeply you desire for us to be in your presence in your holy city, worshiping you in freedom and joy. I’m so looking forward to that day. Help me, Lord, to live in the meantime in a way that reflects my faith and hope in you. Equip me, encourage me and empower me to live as a faithful steward in every area of my life. I believe your kingdom has already come, and as I allow you to live through me,I pray that people around me would catch a glimpse of that kingdom. That is how I want to live my life, as one through whom the kingdom of God in all its glory can be seen day by day. That’s an amazing vision for my life, Lord. I give myself back to you, surrender myself completely to you, that I may live such a life for your sake and your glory. In Jesus’ name. Amen