2019 was defined for some by the rise of the Fridays for Future movement. As 2020 started many commentators remarked that this would be the make or break decade for earth’s environment. Whilst Greta Thunberg may have brought the climate crisis to the attention of the world’s media, environmental stewardship is not a new concern for Christians. The text below was first published in the St. Catherine’s Newsletter in 2009. The message today is as valid as it was then.
(In the original it followed on from an article on financial stewardship – if you haven’t yet read the article in our current Newssheet_December on the state of our finances I would commend this to you … in our coffers, as in our chances to ensure that planet earth remains inhabitable for humans, the sand in the hour glass is running low.)
“In the Parable of the Talents Jesus compares God to the Master of a farm and his followers to the Stewards of that farm. The parable concentrates on how the stewards handle the financial wealth of the master but we know in the real world the responsibility of a good farm steward goes beyond just ensuring that the bills are paid, the books balance and the farm is profitable. Equally important are the tasks of maintaining the farm, looking after the fields and flocks, keeping the buildings and land in good working order, ensuring the workers are well treated and paid so that they work efficiently.
This analogy calls us to look beyond what we give and reflect on how we live. It challenges us to carry out our business and day to day lives responsibly, in a manner which will cause our Master to say “You good and faithful servant”.
It calls us to consider, not only how much of our wealth we give to the Church and those less fortunate than ourselves, but also to take into account the impact our lifestyles have on our environment: are we wasteful of the resources given to us by God; do we turn the lights off when we leave a room, do we turn up the heating or put a jumper on; are the products we purchase sustainably sourced?
Do we care for God’s creation or needlessly pollute it? Do we seek ease and comfort driving in our private cars or use public transport and walk whenever possible?
Do we moderate our consumption?
Do we consider how our work and business transactions affect the lives of others?
Do we use our purchasing power to ensure that the producers receive a fair reward for their work? Do we shun companies that use unsafe and exploitative labour practices? Do we support fairtrade initiatives and companies with high ethical standards?
Does the way we relate with our friends, families and society reflect the standards and values of our Master?
This approach to stewardship is challenging. It’s not a once year decision about how much we give but a background nagging question about how we live our daily lives – it takes us out of our comfort zones and leads us to consider our impact on the world, those around us and those who we will never meet.
It’s a difficult task, but we are not alone in it, as the words of an old Girl Guide prayer say: “I can not do it by myself, Lord Jesus, please help me.””
#prayers for this week
- for those fighting and those affected by the bush fires in Australia
- those affected by the volcanic eruptions in the Philippines and Mexico
- those affected by the drought in Zambia