Key Verses for the Week – Genesis 2:4-15 and Psalm 24:1-5
This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens. Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground, but streams came up from the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground. Then the Lord God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Now the Lord God had planted a garden in the east, in Eden; and there he put the man he had formed. The Lord God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground—trees that were pleasing to the eye and good for food. In the middle of the garden were the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. A river watering the garden flowed from Eden; from there it was separated into four headwaters. The name of the first is the Pishon; it winds through the entire land of Havilah, where there is gold. The gold of that land is good; aromatic resin and onyx are also there. The name of the second river is the Gihon; it winds through the entire land of Cush. The name of the third river is the Tigris; it runs along the east side of Ashur. And the fourth river is the Euphrates. The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it. Genesis 2:4-15
The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;
for he founded it on the seas and established it on the waters. Who may ascend the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy place? The one who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not trust in an idol or swear by a false god. They will receive blessing from the Lord and vindication from God their Savior. Psalm 24: 1-5
Guiding Image for Trek #6 – Caretaker
There is a rather extraordinary verse in the passage from Genesis above when the author tells us, “there was no one to work the ground.” For all of the unspeakable beauty, perfection and the goodness of God’s original creation, it was not complete. It required ongoing care and nurture. It was not a static sanctuary or sterile museum. The purpose of the creation was not for us to stand around and look at it in some disengaged or disinterested way. The creation was specifically designed for our participation and nurture. God created his world in a way that required human caretaking in order for it to fulfill its purpose. He intentionally created it so that we would have our place and our role in it as its stewards and tenders.
On this trek we will look at two temptations that face us as we seek to live out this calling as caretakers of God’s creation. The first temptation beckons us to step beyond our proper role and grasp at playing the owner of what God has graciously placed under our care. When we do, we insult the true owner and greatly overstep our limitations. The second temptation assures us that we can ignore our responsibilities, deceiving us into believing that if the creation truly belongs to God, he will take care of it. Both are perversions of our true calling. As you go through the next seven meditations you will be challenged to check your attitudes toward the world and all that is in it. You will be urged to set aside your attitudes of ownership on the one hand, and your neglect on the other, in order to return to this high and holy calling as an active, loving and engaged caretaker of God’s good creation. This will include your use of time, the employment of your skills and abilities in God’s work, and the stewarding of the resources he has entrusted to us. The freedom that is offered on this trek may be the greatest freedom we will ever experience. I pray that is so for you in the days ahead.
Main Theme for Trek #6 – We have been given the extraordinary opportunity and supreme privilege of co- laboring with God in the care and nurture of his creation. That includes the stewarding of our time, our resources, our abilities, and the world itself.
Dear Lord, I confess that I have allowed complacency in my attitudes and actions toward the good things that you have created for me to enjoy and steward. I have not committed my time to you on a daily basis, seeking your guidance for how I would spend each moment. I have not cared for your creation with the kind of loving nurture to which you’ve called me. I have allowed the love of money and the desire for accumulation of material things to become too great in my spirit. And I have not always sought your will for how you would have me invest my skills and abilities for your work. In all these ways Lord, I have let the world’s standards guide me more than the values of the kingdom of God. In your forgiveness, Lord, empower me with a new vision for my life as a caretaker of your creation. Help me to yield back to you every minute of my day with great anticipation of what you will ask me to do with it. Show me how I can invest the skills and talents with which you created me in ways that bring you glory and build your kingdom. Set me free in my relationship to money and possessions that I might give generously and joyfully and live lightly with the things of this world. And Lord, give me a heart to care for this beautiful creation as a sign of my having been created in your image and placed in the garden for this very purpose. Help me love the things you love, to denounce any form of ownership and to embrace my calling as a good and faithful steward. In Jesus’ name. Amen.